When Something Goes Wrong in our Long Term Care Facilities

Originally published in allaboutestates.ca March 18, 2013:

Last week two female residents of a Long Term Care facility were assaulted and one was fatally injured by another resident of the same facility. At the time of writing of this blog, details were not known. The cognitive state of the accused is unclear and whether or not he had dementia and was living in the secure unit was not shared with the public. There are many systemic issues involved with this tragedy and they are not restricted to this particular facility. They include:
– staffing levels and training of front line staff;
– treatment and symptom management for residents with behaviourial issues and
-awareness of and sensitivity to mental health concerns.

The first point is of concern for all long term care facilities. I attended a conference last week and spoke with a nurse from a local facility who told me that funding was such that they had run out of soap!

Secondly, with staffing and budget as it is, are residents able to receive the assessment and treatment services that they may require?

Thirdly, do staff simply have time to notice and share and address concerns amongst themselves and the treatment team?

Episodes of violent outbreaks are clearly not restricted to the senior population however in a facility that offers full time medical care and supervision, it just makes me question when and how we are going to address these issues. Oh, and one more thing, where will the offender go for treatment after the sentencing?
-Audrey Miller

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