Retirement Home Investigation - Dale Brazao, Moira Welsh - Toronto Star
"The 82-year-old man, in diapers and suffering advanced dementia, slid off his chair and crashed to the floor of the Toronto retirement home. No staffer came to help. An undercover Toronto Star reporter helped Sam up and waited. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes. At twenty minutes, a tired, overworked staffer appeared. "Sam does not belong here," she said. That was our first night inside InTouch Retirement Living in Toronto's west end. Over the next week, the Star witnessed profound neglect in a place where more than half of the 18 residents should be in a nursing home receiving higher quality, regulated medical care. People left in urine- and feces-filled diapers for hours. Washrooms had no toilet paper so residents, some suffering from dementia, wiped themselves with their hands or a fliimsy communal towel ...
"The Star investigation into retirement homes is a 'wake-up call for Ontario,' said Judith Wahl, of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. Nursing homes resources are strained, but they still face strict regulations — especially for medical care. But there are now 24,000 people on a waiting list for one of the province’s 77,000 nursing home beds. For those who cannot live at home, even with help from government programs, there will be nowhere else to go but Ontario’s retirement home industry."
"Reaction to the Star’s expose was swift. The Ontario progressive conservative caucus immediately sent a letter to the government Friday calling for a sweeping investigation into the living conditions of seniors in both retirement homes and nursing homes."
"SATURDAY 8:52 am – Urine puddle on floor of stairwell. Has been there for 24 hours. Told this is a slipping hazard, a staff member grumbles, takes mop and cleans. Sam, who fell off his chair Thursday night, has angry bruise on leg. Staffer says he likes to sleep on floor. 10 am – Some residents sleep in room all day. Diapers, which most residents pay for, rarely changed. Discarded people. Few visitors. When the bathroom is cleaned the same mop and water used to swab lounge floor. Mop and pail stored in shower on second floor."
"Star reporter Dale Brazao spent a week living undercover in one of Toronto’s worst retirement homes. He found seniors with advanced dementia struggling helplessly, residents sitting for hours in feces-filled diapers, bathrooms without toilet paper or clean towels, bad food, broken appliances and underpaid workers. Yet Elaine Lindo, owner of In Touch Retirement Living, claimed: “We are one of the best in the city and everybody knows that.” The Star has published horror stories like this for years. Yet the abuses continue."
"Did the end justify the means here? Did this exposé of the profound neglect Brazao witnessed meet the public interest test? I have no doubt this was the right course of action. This investigation met all of the thresholds journalism ethicists have laid down for undercover reporting: The information is vital to the public interest (particularly given the demographics of an aging population and a severe shortage of nursing home beds); there was no other way to get this story and know the conditions inside the home, and the nature of the deception was fully disclosed to readers. . ."