Winnipeg health officials claim they were misled about staffing levels at Maples care home during emergency event

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) is alleging the company that runs a Winnipeg personal care where eight people passed away in 48 hours misled them about the number of staff members available on Friday evening, where over a dozen 911 calls were placed to the care home.

During a news conference at the Manitoba Legislature Monday afternoon, Vickie Kaminski, president and CEO of the WRHA, said they asked Revera again Monday about the number of staff members available, and the level of care provided, after speaking with the union.

On Saturday, Jason Chester, vice-president of long-term care operations for Western Canada at Revera, said the care home was fully staffed at the time.

Kaminski said on Monday they received a “slightly different picture” of the staffing levels.

She said on a normal evening shift (3:30-11:30 PM), 19 health care aides are normally scheduled, and that is what was scheduled this past Friday.

“However, four staff called in, and said they had to self-isolate, and that took them down to 15,” Kaminski said. “An additional eight people called in sick for that shift, which left them with seven healthcare aides for the entire home.”

Kaminski said day staff was asked if they would work overtime, with nine agreeing to work an additional two hours at the end of their shift to help with the dinner hour, and three agreed to stay for four additional hours to help settle residents for the night.

“The 19 people that were expected for an eight-hour shift became 19 health care aides until 5:30 in the afternoon, and then went down to 10 healthcare aides until 7:30, and then became seven for the rest of that shift,” Kaminski said. “It’s really unfortunate that we’re here today to have to correct that record.

“We’re extremely concerned about the information we got, and the information that we gave, both to the (Health Minister), and the residents of Manitoba, was less than accurate.”

Kaminiski said the WRHA will also soon create a clinical team who will be at Winnipeg’s care homes going forward.

“Some on a daily basis. Some bi-weekly, and some once a week, but every day there will be huddles with all of our personal care homes and we will be getting reliable verifiable information that we will pass on,” she said.

Kaminski said the “less than fulsome disclosure” from Revera has put a strain on the WRHA’s relationship with the company.

“I’m going to be following up with Revera, and we will be seeking clarification as to what they knew, and when they knew it, and why the information they provided to us was less than accurate,” she said. “We will certainly be speaking with Revera about our expectations on a go-forward basis.

“Part of the reason for having someone on-site at some of our facilities, and some of their facilities will be to verify any information before we accept it.”

Speaking at the Manitoba legislative building, Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew said Revera should not be operating in Manitoba due to the incident.

 “I can’t understand how they’re allowed to run personal care homes in Manitoba, ” Kinew said. “The Government of Manitoba has to take these homes over. The company cannot be allowed to continue caring for seniors after what we’ve seen.”

CTV News has reached out to Revera for comment.

-With files from CTV’s Mason Depatie and Mike Arsenault.

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