College of Nurses Misconduct Hearing Raises Questions Needing Answers

Seniors care inquiry can’t stop with Wettlaufer case

LONDON, ON – Ontario NDP Long-Term Care critic Teresa Armstrong issued the following statement regarding the professional misconduct hearing for convicted serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer, happening today at the College of Nurses of Ontario:

“As the college meets to consider Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s nursing license today, the NDP is again calling for the inquiry into long-term care to reach out beyond the Wettlaufer crimes, and shine a light on a seniors-care system in crisis so we can make changes and give our parents, grandparents and loved ones the care they deserve.

There were nearly 13,000 critical incidents reported in long-term care homes in 2014 alone. Today, Andrea Horwath and I are hearing more and more from families about neglect and even violence in seniors care homes. Most staff are caring people working hard, but they’re run off their feet while Premier Kathleen Wynne cuts, underfunds and shortchanges services we count on, like seniors care.

This hearing raises many questions about how our system let Wattlaufer, with previously documented professional misconduct complaints against her, continue to practice. But beyond that, Ontario deserves an honest picture of the problems in seniors care homes throughout the province – and then we need to do something about it. Addressing these horrendous murders without also addressing the systemic issues in seniors care in Ontario fails the 78,000 people currently living in seniors care homes and their families.

All seniors deserve to live in dignity and quality care that protects their health and wellbeing.  We need to look at the safety of residents and staff, quality of care, funding levels, staffing levels and staffing practices, regulation, enforcement, inspections, the impact of for-profit privatization on care, and finally government action and inaction on previous recommendations to improve the long-term care system.

We can take better care of our seniors than we do today.”

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