For more than 30 minutes a resident of The Wexford went on a rampage, roaming the halls of the Scarborough long-term care facility, battering one woman before leaving his own floor and heading upstairs to kill another.
It wasn’t the first time that this resident had been involved in a violent assault at the home. A psychiatrist had assessed the resident as a chronic risk to others and recommended he be placed in a psychiatric group home better suited to manage his behaviour.
Despite a scathing Ministry report on the incident, the last time The Wexford had undergone a detailed inspection by the Ministry of Health was 2009.
Last year Health Minister Deb Matthews had said homes that generated few complaints or critical incidents would not likely undergo such an inspection, since the new resident quality inspection (RQI) regime would only apply to those homes that raised the most red flags.
It could take more than five years before all of Ontario’s nursing homes receive a full inspection by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Further, the complaints hotline overwhelmed inspection teams with 2,719 complaints last year, leaving many families to wait anywhere from 30 days to a year to get their complaint investigated.
Inspectors say that it is taking so long to investigate that they are sometimes arriving to find the resident who issued the complaint has passed away.
The 2007 Long Term Care Homes Act was meant to address incidents of abuse and neglect in Ontario’s nursing homes, but the government is considering any visit to the home an “annual inspection,” even if it is only for a specific complaint. Prior to 2010, homes were subject to a full inspection of all programs and services.
Each office of the Long Term Care Unit presently has an informal goal of completing two “resident quality inspections” (RQI) per month. RQIs are the new version of what used to be considered an annual inspection. That means the province has a goal of conducting 120 RQIs per year. Ontario has 630 licensed nursing homes.