The Covid-19 outbreak has had an immeasurably profound impact on families that have lost loved ones to the disease. From the outset, public health officials have warned about the exceptional risks the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions face. It is reasonable to expect our entire community to rally around our seniors and the vulnerable – and we believe it has – but, tragically, those who are in seniors’ residences and nursing homes have suffered regardless.

The news about failure to provide proper care in nursing homes has been damning, and it raises the question of whether the residences adhered to protocols intended to keep staff and residents safe. Such seemingly unchecked progression of Covid-19 also prompts questions about standards of care in “normal” times.

Hundreds of infections within a few weeks

According to CTV News, there have been in excess of 300 infections among residents and more than 70 deaths due to Covid-19 at Orchard Villa Retirement Residence. Those statistics are shocking and deeply disturbing. In addition, some 100 staff members were also diagnosed with the disease. At another residence, located in Hamilton, more than 60 residents were infected and 14 passed away. The situation was deemed to be so dire that residents were moved to a local hospital in an effort to control the outbreak.

The numbers of infections in seniors’ residences and nursing homes paint a picture of insufficient care and, in some instances perhaps, an institutional failure to heed the numerous and repeated warnings about the severity of the disease. Should elderly care homes not have been the shining beacon of how to effectively stop the spread of the novel coronavirus at the doorstep?

What inadequate handling of Covid-19 may indicate

The transfer of seniors’ home residents to hospitals in an effort to curb the outbreak places the brightest spotlight on conditions in such facilities. Poor staffing levels, inadequate standards of care, and inability to manage what was at the time a relatively contained outbreak in Canada indicate the existence of long-standing inadequacies in management, policies and procedures, and regulatory oversight. There have also been reports of healthy residents continuing to share space with patients who had tested positive — which is a further indication of the inadequacies of the homes’ living spaces.

Families of residents are now faced with the challenge of making adequate living arrangements for loved ones, ensuring that medical care is not interrupted even further.

What should you do if a loved one has contracted Covid-19?

Premier Doug Ford has spoken of an “iron ring” to protect long term care homes in Ontario, which were hit surprisingly early and surprisingly hard by coronavirus outbreaks. Since then, there have been far too many more families that have lost loved ones, and still more are waiting and praying that their loved ones — who have tested positive — recover.

It is no surprise Ontarians are looking for answers and our Toronto personal injury lawyers can help you do so. We are assisting and guiding families as they are confronted by the logistical, administrative, and financial challenges involved in moving elderly family members to safe care. Our firm is advocating on behalf of families: by asking questions about how loved ones, who depend on their professional caregivers for their safety, have been left so exposed to the threat of Covid-19. Our lawyers are assessing whether or not long term care homes are adhering to Ontario’s safety guidelines, and fulfilling the requisite reasonable standard of care.

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