The Star reported that Ontario’s new associate minister of long term care, Dipika Damerla, says she is “saddened and troubled” by photographs of gaping, infected bedsores published in a Star investigation.  France Gelinas, New Democrat health critic at Queen’s Park, said the bedsore pictures of 88-year-old Fatemeh Hajimoradi and 93-year-old Dorothy Benson are a sobering reminder that there’s no strict oversight of nursing homes.

“This is simply not acceptable,” Dipika Damerla said in a written statement. “We must do more to ensure that incidents such as these do not occur.”

 The Star investigation told the story of Dorothy Benson, who died in hospital after developing severe pressure ulcers in The Waterford, her Oakville nursing home. Benson’s son, Sheldon, complained to the ministry and later gave the Star photographs showing the terrible trauma the pressure ulcers inflicted on her leg and foot.

In that case, the inspector came down hard on the home and cited it for numerous violations. The report initially said the home’s “inaction contributed to the resident’s death while in hospital.” The ministry later deleted that line with black ink and replaced it with a handwritten note saying the home didn’t contribute to the death, but “jeopardized the well-being of the resident.”

He said the lack of action shows that it’s “open season on seniors.” Halton Regional Police said the coroner’s office told them there was no reason to investigate and the coroner later refused Sheldon’s call for an inquest.  Seniors’ advocate Jane Meadus said the government’s first step should be to focus on improving inspectors’ investigation skills. “It’s hit and miss, spotty at best,” said Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

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