Class action suit against Revera Nursing Homes.

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The Toronto Star had an article yesterday detailing the impetus for the suit, alleged neglect suffered at the hands of incompetent or uncaring staff (an infected, stage 4 untreated pressure sore). The tragedy is that this kind of thing is not limited to one chain of companies but seems systemic across the industry. The defence is that they look after thousands of people with relatively few complaints, but I honestly wonder how much more of this kind of thing goes on that is never reported or even discovered. It sickens me, how can we hold the industry accountable?


CW I'm afraid this is where I reveal myself as a true cynic and ask "cui bono?"

Who is bringing the suit, to whom will damages be paid if it's successful, and... oh here we go: let's see if we can all guess who will be making lots and lots and lots of lovely money from it without suffering so much as the trouble or discomfort of a sore bottom or the distress of seeing anyone they care about in pain.

Will the outcome be a single pressure sore healed? Will it improve the staff:resident ratio one jot? Will it pay for better training?

Of course not. The argument is that by making an example of one brand, the others will be forced to up their game. But that's not what happens. What happens is that the market is forced to ring fence money against the risk of litigation and increased insurance costs, and there is even less available for staffing and training.

The lawyers concerned are not remotely interested in holding the industry accountable. They are taking half page advertisements in national papers trawling for complainants. There's a particularly revolting one that I saw again last weekend, illustrated by an image of a bruised, rotting apple, that I was minded to complain to the advertising standards authority about last time the same campaign ran, last year.

So thank you for the reminder, I'll get on to it.

Improving standards requires strong regulators, good training and education, good employers interested in continuous development of best practice, and - as with liberty - eternal vigilance on the part of elders' advocates. I.e. thee and me. Class actions in pursuit of undisputed goals - in this case, the avoidance of pressure sores - benefit nobody but the lawyers and aggrieved relatives; and, what's more, generally the sort of relatives who don't visit often enough to help highlight a problem before it's become a disaster. I.e. the ones who do vox pop's on telly saying "I went on Thursday and there was dried food on her pillowcase and it was still there on Sunday night I think it's disgusting there ought to be a law..." And the interviewer *never* says "well why the f**k didn't you change the pillowcase then you useless tosser?"

A propos, somebody on the whine thread was asking where all the money goes and that got me thinking about this, too. Let's NOT make any more go to law than absolutely has to, please!
I suppose I hope that such headlines will encourage others to be more vigilant as well as encourage others whose loved ones have suffered neglect to rise up in righteous indignation and demand change, at the very least better government oversight. The unfortunate reality is that no one who is satisfied with their loved ones care or those who haven't yet needed to place a loved one in an nursing home will even read the article let alone push for change.
I need to read the article, to be fair.

But the usual results are:

Older people read it in horror and become even more resistant to the thought of "going into a home."
Hands-on caregivers read it, wonder what the facts of the case were, wonder what the regulators thought they were doing, wonder what's *wrong* with people, and then scurry off to the bedroom or the ALF or NH and check up on our loved ones.
Absent caregivers wonder if their loved ones are being looked after properly. But don't have time to visit, not this weekend, maybe next...
Cross caregivers and family members wonder if they can sue their facility. The bastards.
Lawyers who missed out this time wonder what other kites might be worth flying
The Great and Good congratulate themselves on forming more committees to address the complex challenges of an aging demographic and learn lessons and make sure this Never Happens Again. Again.

Sorry, did I say I was getting cynical? Moi?
Whether the nursing home was at fault or not bring a question to my mind. If this wasn't a nursing home but a relative who was caring for a patient, would the other family members sue the relative caregiver? Makes me wonder how many elders living at home aren't getting the correct care. Those cases we rarely, if ever, hear about.

Don't get me wrong, I am not sticking up for the nursing home as there are two sides to every story, just putting out food for through.
Hm. Well, they don't hold back on the details, do they?

One of the allegations is that he was not assessed for pressure sore risk on his return from the hospital following falls. Well, the home employed a wound care nurse - that doesn't sound like a place that isn't aware of the correct skin integrity procedures. But wouldn't it be ironic if they'd employed a specialist nurse, and precisely for that reason the personal care aides were no longer doing daily inspections? That is exactly the kind of complication that non-holistic meddling can lead to.

I can remember doing the hair-pulling dance in A&E when my great aunt had been kept on an observation ward for 48 hours and I discovered no one had looked at her lower leg ulcer dressing. "We don't do wound dressings," said the Staff Nurse, "Ms S is here for observation following her fall." I was young and green back then and just said: "that's inSANE!" Got me nowhere.
FF it is a good and important point. I just slightly wish you hadn't said it in public - you might be putting ideas into people's heads :P
Whatever lawyers say there are times when pressure sores are inevitable and can appear literally anywhere on the body in the very sick and/or thin. I have seen them on the nose and ears!. In my case I received excellent care in that area even in what I considered the worst hospital in the country. Now mouth care was another matter. My teeth felt like they were wearing sweaters and the reply was that I had said I could brush my own teeth. They were somewhat annoyed when I told them checking that i still could should be part of their plan of care. They did immediately address the problem.
All I can say is that relatives need to visit often and if they notice something out of place to rectify it immediately. Offer to help out the staff with routine care if that is safe, help with bathing so you know how to do it if you are able. make visits at meal time and feed your loved one. Bring food if they don't fancy what they are being served. Don't just complain make suggestions and help where you are able. Above all volunteer at a nursing home they will e very grateful. you may need a health test ut there are multitude of things you can do to both ease the nurses load and improve the quality of life. How about pushing a wheelchair round the grounds on a nice day, sitting quietly just listening to the birds. rating the paper sitting with someone holding their hand till tey fall asleep. there is always some thing you can do even if you are old and sick or even in a wheel chair yourself. Save the criticism for genuinely bad situations.
Veronica I signed on nearly a year ago to help feed patients on the stroke ward where my mother was so well cared-for in spite of their terrifyingly high bed occupancy rate.

I have my security clearance. I have had my induction training. I am still waiting to be taught how to thicken fluids, check food and drink temperatures, read the dietitians' notes and assist the patient with eating.

I just wonder how much hands-on experience of those things the person who teaches me will have. Going by the induction, probably a lot less than I've got.

Sigh. Maybe they'll get round to it before Christmas..?
As an Ombudsman, I met with a woman who had a stage 1 (early) pressure sore. Her daughter agreed to keep an eye on it and take pictures to keep track of it. A month later I asked her how it looked. She never checked it, not even once.
The fact that they are bringing a class action suit seems to point to them having a belief that this is not isolated (the claim points to evidence of 82 incidents), we Canadians aren't generally a litigious society like out neighbours to the south are reputed to be.
Of course as with all such stories it has been picked up by other news sources and there are links that send you off to other horrendous examples.

Veronica, I believe the daughter lived in California and her father in Toronto, one would like to believe our parents are well cared for even if we are not able to constantly supervise.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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