June 2nd, 2020

Horwath: Families deserve transparency about long-term care homes in the high-risk “red” category

QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford and his government should be assuring families complete transparency about their loved one’s long-term care home, not hiding vital information, said Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who held a virtual press conference Tuesday with Tammy Coutu, whose grandmother died of COVID-19 contracted in a long-term care home.

“Having a parent move into long-term care is a scary time for everyone – and having your loved one alone in care during a pandemic is gut-wrenching,” said Horwath. “People deserve to know exactly what’s happening in those homes. But instead of being transparent, the Ford government is taking a leaf out of the previous Liberal government’s book and refusing to share their list of COVID-19 ‘high-risk red’ facilities.”

Since the previous Liberal government created the secret list of high-risk red long-term care homes, the NDP has called for it to be made public. Despite acknowledging that the government is maintaining that list and actively changing the homes listed there, the Ford government has refused. The government has only assumed management of seven homes that aren’t protecting residents well enough during the pandemic, despite the fact that many more homes than that are on the high-risk red list.

Poor communication and a lack of transparency has been a major problem in long-term care during the pandemic. The Canadian Armed Forces report as well as court documents and media reports have revealed poor communication including a lack of information being shared with family members.

“Imagine not knowing if your mom’s home is on that red list?,” said Horwath. “Imagine not knowing if your grandma is COVID-positive because you can’t get someone from the facility on the phone to tell you. The communications and transparency problems in long-term care began long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has turned problems into crises for so many families. This is not the best Ontario can do.”


Tammy Coutu
“Our experience with Jarlette Health Services-owned Royal Rose Place in Welland was heartbreaking. Communication about my grandmother’s condition was almost non-existent. Her death and many others were preventable. There are many homes in the Niagara region that have successfully managed to keep COVID-19 away. While others, like Royal Rose Place, have some of the largest outbreaks in the region. How will they handle a second wave?”