Ottawa MPPs ask Ontario to take over management at Madonna Care Community
OTTAWA -- Mixed in with the heartache of not being able to visit loved ones in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic is growing frustration.
“We have to call them and call them and call them. You know your 89-year-old blind mother has tested positive for the virus and no one even calls you just to keep up to date,” said Debbie MacMillan.
Her mother Dorothy lives at Madonna Care Community in Orleans, and is one of 45 residents to test positive for COVID-19. Thirty residents have died.
“Sienna should’ve called in help much, much sooner than they did and maybe not as many patients would have died,” MacMillan said.
With a growing number of families voicing concerns over staffing levels, care, communication and the use of personal protective equipment at the city’s hardest hit care home, some Ottawa MPPS want the Ontario government to step in.
“I think it’s at the point now where families have lost confidence,” said Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser.
Fraser, along with Orléans Liberal MPP Stephen Blais, wrote a letter to Merrilee Fullerton, the minister of long-term care, urging the government to provide oversight at Madonna Care Community.
The letter cited concerns that staffing shortages at the home have not been addressed, alleged PPE protocols are not being followed, and that there is a lack of transparency for families of residents.
“I think what you need is you need to put management oversight in there which means you have to put one person on the ground inside ensuring those things are happening like mobilizing the workforce," said Fraser in an interview with CTV News Ottawa.
"There are a number of hospitals helping and sending people in and it’s not clear whether or not the help is…there doesn’t seem to be anybody saying ‘I’m in charge’ making sure that we have these people every day.”
In a statement Sienna Senior Living, the company that runs the home, says “the team is working extremely hard to care for and protect residents, and are tremendously grateful to have the extra support from the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Royal Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital, and Public Health who are working alongside us to provide additional staffing resources and expertise. We will continue to seek additional assistance to help manage this extraordinary situation associated with COVID-19.”
“This is what keeps me up at night,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford about long-term care homes during his daily briefing.
The premier was asked whether it was time to end the privatization of them.
“When we look at this we are going to need federal support. We aren’t in the financial spot to be able to fund the whole system,” Ford said.
In a statement, the minister of long-term care says Madonna Care Community has an assigned support person from the ministry who “is in frequent contact to check and ensure they have everything they need.” She adds “the Ministry of Long-Term Care provides regulatory oversight through the Long-Term Care Homes Act. However, long-term care homes are independently run and operated.”
MacMillian and her sisters hope communication improves and are looking forward to the pandemic being over.
“I’m just praying that I will see her alive again and be able to sing her the Christian songs that she likes.”