Doctors in Long Term Care

As someone who has worked alongside nurses, PSWs and managers in LTC for 37 years, my wish is that they never need to experience the tribulation of those who are taking the witness stand.  The charting and scenarios are very familiar.  The picture that I see evolving is that many partial contributors (?accomplices) allowed these horrific murders to occur.  On behalf of the OLTCC, I am interested to see what the physicians may have observed.

Heather Mallick of the Star identifies six levels of failure: the nurses’ union, the nursing regulator, the inspectors, her employers, the coroner and the pastor who did not believe her confession.  On the final point, there were likely others outside the health care system who had concerns.  And, there were likely others in Circle of Care, like doctors, who had concerns and did not know how to address them.

Doctors are often seen on the sidelines in long term.  The vast majority of Ontario LTC MDs are independent contractors and paid separately through OHIP.  I doubt that this will change any time soon.  Yet, they are the ones responsible for medical care and providing 24/7 coverage.  The LTCHA requires that every facility has a Medical Director who is responsible for the medical program.

Long Term Care Inquiry

The Public Hearings of Long Term Care Inquiry opened in St. Thomas on June 5.  Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered or injured fourteen persons.  She confessed and was convicted to long imprisonment last year.  The Public Hearings allows the survivors, families of victims and the public to hear the details of these tragic events.  

Ontario Long Term Care Clinicians is a Participant at the Hearings.  Dr. Fred Mather, OLTCC President, said the following in his opening remarks:

“With shock, sadness and sympathy, OLTCC is here to listen to the facts of the intentional deaths in and other risks to long term care residents.  We will witness the effect that these events had on residents, families, staff and others.  We await to carry forward recommendations for improvements in the safety and security of our facilities.”

Updates and observations from the Inquiry will be provided on the web site, www.oltcc.ca, under the Blog tab.