The provincial government says they have put together a team to make sure that 17 recommendations made to prevent future outbreaks are implemented at all Personal Care Homes.
The draft plan will be put into place in the months ahead, said Health and Seniors Care Minister Heather Stefanson Friday.
“Once we accepted the report’s findings and committed to implementing the recommendations, we moved quickly to put a team in place to develop a response plan within 30 days to outline how the recommendations will be implemented,” said Stefanson.
“While some work had already begun at the Maples site and within the Winnipeg health region, this plan sets out how we will ensure the recommendations are implemented at all personal care home sites in Manitoba, and ensure they are consistent with the province’s clinical and preventive services plan.”
The team, led by former Southern Health CEO Kathy McPhail, is made up of personal care home operators, service delivery organizations and provincial and department staff, said Stefanson.
The recommendations specifically for the Maples Personal Care Home site include the following:
- Revise the Maples Outbreak Plan to ensure the ability to operationalize it.
- Identify and implement clear care priorities for residents during an outbreak situation, including but not limited to medication management and minimum standards for documentation.
- Mobilize and deploy additional onsite Revera resources at the beginning of an outbreak through to when stabilization is achieved.
- Ensure that regular (daily) on site physician rounds are immediately in place once an outbreak has been declared.
- Recognize that housekeeping is a critical essential service in long term care and ensure it is staffed appropriately during any outbreak.
- Improve communication for stakeholders.
From there, the plan will move to other PCHs within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
The teams are being asked to make their first report back to the province in 60 days.
The embattled care home has been in the news throughout the COVID-19 pandemic after dozens of deaths — including several residents in a two-day period in November — and concerns about whether residents were receiving adequate care.
The province ordered an external review on the home after the deadly weekend in November when 18 calls were placed to 911. Paramedics found residents severely dehydrated and in need of immediate care. Within 48 hours, eight people died.
The outbreak at the personal care home was first declared on Oct. 20 and ultimately claimed 56 lives over nearly three months.
In early December, Winnipeg police said they had looked into the crisis and that no further investigation would take place on their end.
The Revera-owned facility on Mandalay Drive is also facing potential court battles, as families of residents who died of COVID-19 have threatened legal action.
Last month the government committed to implementing all of the recommendations in the external review of the beleaguered privately-run home.
The report looked at staffing levels, the level of care provided, and the site’s policies and procedures when dealing with infection prevention and control.
The final report shows a failed system and confusing pandemic planning guides. It found that staff were left short-handed and scrambling to try to keep up, residents were sick and in need of more attention and untrained workers were hired and run off their feet.
The review made 17 recommendations for the care home, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Manitoba’s health incident command structure and health department.
Revera has said it will work with the government and WRHA to implement the review’s recommendations.
But critics said both the company and the province needed to do more than just what the report recommended.
The Manitoba Health Coalition (MHC) called for more funding for PCHs, increased and legislated staffing ratios to a minimum of 4.1 hours, as well as the end of for-profit long term care providers.
At the time Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew called for a public inquiry.
He said the report doesn’t deal with previous allegations from the health authority that the care home’s owners lied about staffing levels.
The news comes just a day after a woman whose father died at the home announced she is creating a volunteer task force to hold the province accountable for the outbreak.
Eddie Calisto-Tavares lost her 88-year-old father Manuel to the deadly COVID-19 outbreak at the home last year.
“We cannot have 56 people die, have their voices and their memories just silenced, and not have anybody accountable for it,” Calisto-Tavares told reporters Wednesday at the Manitoba legislature.
“I will hold this government accountable. There was a breach of trust in so many levels, and I am going to hold Revera and the Maples accountable through a volunteer task force.”
Calisto-Tavares is also calling for a public inquiry into the care home.
–With files from Brittany Greenslade
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