Over 80 days of lockdown and I’m worried every day my mother will give up hope

Jun 4th, 2020

My mom is in a Long Term Care Home in Ontario and they have been in lock down for 79 days as of June 1, 2020. This is causing a decline in her health and well-being due to the ill effects of isolation. She is glazed over much of the time and it looks like the window glass is confusing her as she won’t look at me during window visits. I have had to send her to the hospital on May 1st due to the Nursing Home doctor not providing medication to treat a wet crackly chest. The ER doctor treated her and sent her back to the nursing home with a 14 day treatment plan. I am struggling to find out how she is doing on a day to day basis. She can’t speak and can’t ring a call bell, can’t stand up for herself. One night the staff rearranged all the furniture in her room which is very hard on an elderly person due to the change. If I was allowed to be inside I would not have allowed that to happen. This is my mom’s room that she pays rent for.

The Ford Govt will not acknowledge the harm that is being done to seniors to bar them from their #FamilyCareGivers.

#NotJustAVisitor on Twitter will show you there is a lot of people who are really upset and worried. Prior to the lock out my sister and I were spending up to 10 hrs per day working with our mom after she suffered a 3rd stroke on Nov.2/19 and survived but is now 100% dependent for all aspects of life. They have now denied her everything that is meaningful in life. A Long Term Care Home is classified in the Long Term Care Act as a residents “Home” so I have been told that denying her access to her family is a violation of the Charter of Human Rights & Freedoms.

Doug Ford is at fault because he has been notified of these issues repeatedly and he will not acknowledge them. Minister of Long Term Care Dr. Merrilee Fullerton is firmly saying no family can visit except for 24hrs for palliative residents.  Residents who may not have become palliative if they had been allowed 1 delegate to keep their spirits up.  Alberta & Quebec have both acknowledged and issued Orders that fully recognize 1 Delegate per Resident as Essential who MUST be let in.  BC has made Proclamations recognizing Family Care Givers.

The harm that is being done is great. Seniors/residents are suffering from depression, loneliness, abandonment, losing their will to live, losing their appetites, starving themselves, dehydration and basically committing suicide. In many cases they do not go into an “end of life” stage that family has a chance to spend time with them prior them dying alone.

For myself personally I worry every minute of every day that my mom will give up hope or worse yet will suffocate in her own saliva from lack of attention/care. Ontario Premier Doug Ford extended the state of emergency in Ontario until June 30, 2020 but people are allowed to go golfing. As long as he maintains this dictatorship, our Loved Ones in Long Term Care Homes are suffering and dying and I’m not talking about Covid-19, I’m specifically saying due to the ill effects of isolation.

Long Term Care Home’s are offering SKYPE / Face Time calls as their means of communication. Some families get 1 call per week. I am getting one call per day at present because I have made my voice as loud as I can. These calls are not sufficient for me to be involved in my mom’s day to day care, physio exercises or properly care for her mental, emotional, spiritual well being.

The Ford Government has allowed untrained volunteers, the Canadian Armed Forces, the members of the Teachers union, and unemployed Canadians (untrained, un-certified) to go inside to “take care” of our Loved Ones but refuses to allow Family who were going in every day prior to the lock out….who were part of the Care Team, Who were providing far more care than basic care such as brief changes. The Care that Family Care Givers provide is not something that is offered by the Long Term Care Homes.

With the Military Reports that speak in graphic detail about the horrific conditions and abuse inside 5 of the long term care homes in Ontario I am also afraid that this mistreatment by untrained volunteers and untrained new hires could be affecting my mom as well. Without being inside to ensure she is taken care of I am blind to what could be happening to her.

I had asked to have a 2-way talk camera put in her room which I supplied and they have refused even after two media stories went out with a lawyer vouching for the legality of the camera. We are her voice and her Power of Attorney and her Substitute Decision Maker and we wanted to continue being involved with her day to day care and advocate for her as well as be able to talk to her at will 24hrs per day. Extendicare is firmly refuses this repeatedly which makes my fears for my mom’s safety even greater.

Seniors in Long Term Care Homes have the right to their family, to put a stop to the deterioration and advanced health issues related to isolation.

There are potentially care homes that have serious neglect issues, there are other homes that may have air conditioning problems or feeding problems or training problems.

With everything that is going on and I am not able to get inside to ensure my mom is being properly taken care of. I am concerned and I’m looking for information on a daily basis.
Every day I’m hearing stories from families who are worried about the decline of their family member, we are getting frantic…sorry, we Are frantic. It’s been 82 days.

When I was on my skype call the other day my mom started choking and no one reached to hold her back…the new hire said to the activities person should we give her some water and the activities person said no she doesn’t take anything by the mouth. What if this new hire was in there on her own???

I need to get back inside. We, the family, are made to feel like criminals, like WE are the ones that created this virus, that WE are the ones that want to kill all the residents and the staff, because WE, we, the family don’t accept that OUR Loved One is suffering from, at minimum, loneliness and depression and deteriorating health due to being isolated from family….this is at Minimum….what else is going on? We don’t know and when we ask for information it’s like we don’t Trust them, we are supposed to just take “they are fine”…. well that is basically saying they are still alive/breathing….but they are NOT fine.

Every administrator, DOC, Nurse, RPN, PSW, cleaning person, services staff, EVERYONE needs to say “this is Not Fine”, these Seniors are suffering and WE the Front Line staff could use the Help of FamilyCareGivers. WE aren’t the enemy! ALL we want is for our Loved Ones to be properly cared for, treated kindly, given respect and dignity AND given medical attention as needed, it doesn’t matter that they are old or have had 3 Strokes…it’s not anyone else’s decision as to whether my mom is worth keeping alive. Everyone has a Medical Directive and that should be Respected Fully. Have a heart and show compassion and put yourselves in the shoes of others, of the residents, of their family.

What has been allowed to happen and is still happening by denying 1 delegate per Resident from the very beginning is just Cruel, Inhumane and WRONG. I ask each of you to remember, we are humans and if you have children you know you would do anything to protect your children and when you are old and frail you hope that your children will do Anything to protect and care for you. We are Not the Enemy Just Because We Don’t Accept how our Loved Ones are being treated. Isolation has been causing serious harm, some have died, some have chosen to take their own lives due to it. 

I won’t sit back and accept what is going on. I don’t accept that I am not allowed to have a 2 Way Talk Camera in my mom’s private room so that I can continue to be involved in her day to day care as I was before, working along side the staff, a camera that would allow me to talk to my mom at will 24hrs a day…. why is this so wrong… This is my mom, this is her life. She has a Right to have my sister and I involved in her day to day care. She has a right to be able to talk to her family 24 hrs per day. SHE has a Right to have her Family available to her physically, mentally, emotionally. SHE has RIGHTS. I fight for my Mom’s Rights. I don’t care who stands in my way. I will Always Fight for My Mom’s Rights. I will never forget how I have been treated through all of this.

We need to get back inside. I need to know what is happening. What is the government doing?

Robin N.