LTC residents trapped; Many haven’t left their room in a year
Posted: April 8, 2021
(March 31, 2021)
By: Liz Braun, Ottawa Sun (Print Edition)
Many people in Ontario’s long-term care homes have been living in isolation for more than a year.
On the same day that a new report came down about Canada’s terrible track record with LTC deaths during COVID-19 – we’re essentially the worst among wealthy nations – a press conference was held to demand an end to the lockdown of LTC facilities.
Despite now being vaccinated and living in homes where there is no COVID-19 whatsoever, residents still can’t leave their rooms – even to walk in the hallway.
The press conference Tuesday was organized by residents, families and advocates. Speakers included Sandra Caleta, spokesman for Voices of LTC and Advocates for Long-Term Care Reform in Ontario; Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition; Jane Meadus, lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly; and Dr. Amit Arya board member of the Ontario Health Coalition.
The conference included heart-rending testimonials from residents and their essential family caregivers.
Alfred Borg, who lives in a Newmarket LTC home, spoke about his daily reality.
Borg and his fellow residents have been confined to their rooms for months, with no outlet for exercise of any kind.
“All day long, we sit in our rooms, wasting away,” he said.
He’s had pneumonia twice in six months.
There’s no COVID-19 in Borg’s building. All the residents have been vaccinated.
Yet, they can’t leave their rooms. Borg hasn’t been outside in a year.
He hasn’t even been allowed to shower in six months – only sponge baths in his room.
Arya said the science is clear: The risk of spread is less outside than inside.
“What is the point of vaccinating residents if they can’t go out?” Arya asked. “The operators and the government make decisions that are contrary to logic and to science.
“Social isolation and loneliness is an epidemic with seniors and it makes them more likely to die early. Cognitive function declines, appetite declines, they become more susceptible to illness and infection.”
Meadus said that since March of last year, more than 150,000 residents have been detained illegally in their residence.
112 new cases in Ottawa 3 new deaths 39 in hospital 13 in intensive care 2,336 new cases in Ontario 14 new deaths Numbers accurate as of Monday.