As of Tuesday, April 28, Pinecrest Nursing Home in Plantagenet was the only long-term care facility in Prescott-Russell with a COVID-19 outbreak. The spouse of a resident at Pinecrest is concerned about how facility staff observed quarantine procedures.
The man said that two employees allegedly went back to work after returning from out-of-country travel without observing the required 14-day quarantine period at home.
As of April 25, three employees and eight residents at Pinecrest had tested positive for COVID-19. Only one employee has shown symptoms of COVID-19 and is in isolation at home. All other positive cases are asymptomatic. All 59 residents and 58 employees at the facility have been tested for COVID-19.
“It’s not fair because everybody was supposed to stay home,” said the man.
He said that he was initially told by the administration of the facility that there was not an outbreak at Pinecrest, even though news media—including in The Review, were reporting that there was an outbreak when the first employee tested positive on April 24.
“I’m trying to get answers from people who work there, but it’s really hard,” said the man.
However, Pinecrest Nursing Home Executive Director Diane Pelletier insisted that all of the quarantine regulations have been followed.
“The policy at Pinecrest Nursing Home around self-isolation and travel has been consistent with the Government of Canada’s directive, in place since March. All staff members who returned from travel outside of Canada were asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days before returning to work. Additionally, any staff member that tests positive for the virus is only permitted to return to work after meeting the criteria set out by medical authorities,” said Pelletier.
Visitors are not presently allowed at long-term care facilities due to COVID-19 precautions and the man has not been able to visit his wife at Pinecrest. They have not been able to communicate by phone or online because she cannot speak.
During his daily media briefing on April 27, Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said he had not seen any evidence that employees at Pinecrest Nursing Home had not observed proper quarantine procedures upon returning from outside of Canada.
Ombudsman seeking complaints
Meanwhile, the office of Ontario’s Patient Ombudsman wants to hear from people who are concerned about alleged improper practices at long-term care facilities.
The Patient Ombudsman is learning of significant safety concerns in long-term care homes including:
- Severe staffing shortages;
- Inadequate infection control and prevention measures;
- Inability to meet the basic care needs for some residents; and
- Poor or no communication.
The Patient Ombudsman is asking staff, family members, caregivers and residents to disclose situations where they feel the safety of long-term care home residents and staff may be in significant jeopardy.
These complaints will help inform the response to support the care of vulnerable long-term care home residents, including potential investigations. The ombudsman is proactively sharing information that comes to the office with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care and Ontario Health.
Anyone with relevant information about COVID-19 issues in Ontario’s long-term care homes is encouraged to file a complaint at www.patientombudsman.ca, or call 1-888-321-0339
The Patient Ombudsman is a champion for fairness in healthcare. The office facilitates resolutions and investigates complaints about patient care and healthcare experiences with long-term care homes, public hospitals and home and community care. The office listens closely to all perspectives without taking sides. The ombudsman’s work aims to improve the system for everyone, by shining a light on issues of concern.