Maples Long Term Care Home, where COVID-19 infected 231 residents and staff and left 57 dead, has been granted permission to begin accepting new residents.
The privately run facility in Winnipeg may, as of Tuesday, bring in people who are currently in hospital or in the community awaiting long-term care placement, Manitoba Health and Seniors Care announced in a news release.
The move will add hospital capacity to help reduce wait times for needed surgeries following delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the province said in the release.
The care home’s admission plan will be monitored and allow one new resident per day, Monday to Friday, for the next three months.
The facility has provided detailed status updates outlining their plans and efforts to address concerns. These plans meet provincial standards, the provincial release said.
The Maples home was banned from accepting new residents while its licence was under review following a deadly outbreak, which was declared on Oct. 20, 2020, and didn’t end until Jan. 12, 2021.
The licence will remain under review and officials will continue scheduled and unscheduled standards reviews of the Maples facility to ensure residents are receiving quality care, the province said.
The north Winnipeg facility — owned by Revera, a for-profit company based out of Ontario — was the site of the province’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at a care home. At Parkview Place, another Revera-owned home in Winnipeg, 30 people died during an outbreak from mid-September 2020 to Jan. 12, 2021.
In May, a class-action lawsuit was launched against Revera by some families of residents who died. It alleges Revera failed to provide medical and nursing care, including acute medical care, and failed to properly physically distance residents to contain the spread of the illness.
The lawsuit also alleges Revera failed to ensure there was adequate staffing at the home.
Last month, the province released a progress report on the recommendations from an external review into what happened at the Maples home.
The review found a lack of expertise in infection prevention and control, as well as confusion and redundancies in communications and workflow when it came to implementing the pandemic systems.
The facility was also unprepared for the significant reduction in available staff once they had been exposed to COVID-19 and were required to self-isolate, and the urgency of requests for more staffing supports was not fully understood until the situation became critical.
More staff members were finally brought in, but many were not skilled in providing long-term care services and lacked training in infection prevention and control and specialized housekeeping skills, the review found.
In releasing its progress report, the province said Revera had made big strides to correct its issues.
Meanwhile, Parkview Place has begun the process of closing down. In early August, Revera provided a one-year notice to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
The home will be closed by Aug. 10, 2022, or once all residents have moved out, the company said.
Revera cited aging and outdated infrastructure, such as narrow hallways, as the primary reason for the closure. In a release at the time, it also said there’s limited outdoor space for residents to enjoy and “Parkview Place cannot simply be renovated to meet today’s long term care standards.”
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