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Parent of adult in Prescott and Russell Residence calls for change

An Open Letter to the Mayors of the United Counties of Prescott Russell, the Warden, the CAO and the UCPR Home Committee:

A young but severely handicapped resident entered your care in October 2019 just before the hiring of the new acting administrator, one Alexandre Gorman. This resident, Carlin Pethke asked only that he be treated with dignity and respect; with care consistent with his needs. These needs sometimes differ from the elderly.  All seemed well until we requested that his A/C be installed during the April heatwave, as it was a medical necessity. This was denied by the Administrator until intervention by outside medical authorities. Sadly, things changed for this family after that. Despite the best efforts of many front line nurses and PSW’s providing direct care, the issues, as we see them at PR Residence, fall squarely on the Senior Administration.

  1. This family first wrote to you on August 2nd, to advise about a serious failure to meet the requirements of the Long Term Care Act and the Prescott Russell’s own policies regarding zero tolerance for neglect and abuse. That advisement included abuse by a manager, missed medications, failure to respect doctors for proper care of a MS patient and other matters.

One serious matter was that in late July, Chief Administrator – Alexandre Gorman and the Director of Care – Ms. Paule Juliette together hand-delivered a notice to a bedridden resident, late on a Friday afternoon specifying that he would in short order be discharged into the community; knowing that he would be left stressed and afraid without recourse over the weekend. Strangely, that notice held the signature of the UCPR lawyer (Ms. Letourneau) yet was itself in violation of the law.

As we exhausted all the usual channels with respectful requests for support to Mr. Gorman and Ms. Juliette, we ultimately advised UCPR CAO Parisien via a legal but very non-threatening letter of the issues and asked for help.  I also wrote to you asking for help; all without success.

  1. I wrote to you again Oct 26th 2020 as the COVID outbreak was well underway. It remains as the worst outbreak in all of Eastern Ontario and amongst the worst in Ontario, despite a summer of restrictions on residents and families. There is still on-going denial of essential family caregivers, again in violation of government directives. Evidence shows it be a best practice elsewhere, yet somehow families are still denied yet students have been allowed to enter here.

On Oct 26th  I wrote that “Based on the facts as I know them and have accurately shared, I conclude that the on-going failures of Administration at the Prescott Russell Residence can be directly linked to a lack of proper oversight of this Residence”.

That letter included a recommendation to retain more experienced oversight at the Residence as Mr. Gorman’s one year probation period was coming up.  His position was since made permanent by yourselves.

  1. I wrote to you on Nov 6th, as my son was in increasing pain as he was not receiving essential basic care to resolve leg pain. Physio was denied for weeks now. That letter to you included a CBC news story carried on Radio news, the TV news and the Internet.  Mr. Gorman is quoted as “…but nothing has shown that one or many of our residents were lying in pain, that I can assure you,”   When Mr. Gorman made that statement to the CBC interviewer he had full knowledge of the multiple requests advising that Carlin was in pain and not receiving necessary basic care, as I had personally notified him at least 7 times within the 10 days prior to his statement. All those in a position of authority seemed content to let a disabled resident suffer.
  2. On Nov 15th you were made aware of a story carried by this paper, The Review, of the many difficulties faced by this family and resident at Prescott Russell Residence. It can still be found on-line.

 6. This  Thursday Nov 19th I wrote again with a compilation of comments gleaned from social media. They indicate that I am not alone in my concerns. You received a much more detailed list.

As noted, Friends and Families of residents now have a PRR Family Council Facebook page on which to communicate. If it contains fears, rumour, incomplete or inaccurate information or frustration with the inexperience and/or arrogance of the Senior Administrator ( as noted in their comments )  then you can only blame yourselves and those in charge.  The Prescott and Russell Residence is also receives broad mention on Twitter and many other LTC Advocacy groups and social media.

Here are a few short statements from others. They were extracted from the document sent to you. There are many more.

— What we witnessed at the PRR is a lack of leadership in implanting the protocols necessary to have the situation under control

— It was an utter failure from the administration to communicate effectively with us and to not have thought (sic) their staff the proper protocols to deal with a Covid-19 outbreak

— So many questions but in my opinion they all point to lack of proper oversight

— Given that no family members or caregivers have been allowed to enter Prescott Russell Residence since Oct. 7th nor have the residents been allowed to leave the building, this virus is not being spread by either of those groups

— Our family had the worst experience with this center

— Human lives were in their hands and they could not handle the crisis properly.

— I don’t put a blame on employees but management.

— Take care of my beloved grandma. We can’t stand by her side, we rely on you to give her the best care she deserves. We love her so much.

SADLY this is followed by:

— Well, I confirm that my grandmother passed away yesterday morning due to COVID-19 at Prescott and Russell Residence.

— What experience in health care administration other than managing a golf course did M. Gorman have related to his appointment as administrator? As far as I can tell, none. Please advise me if I am mistaken. Degrees are good. Degrees with experience are required for such high responsibilities, where there are lives at stake.

— Administration is well paid to be accountable and should be held to a higher standard.

— The administration should be held accountable and firing would be in order. Many died unnecessarily

It will be so nice when we are again able to say something positive but to date the UCPR and PRR Administration has not responded to our offers to work in the best interests of Residents and Families as required under the LTC Homes Act and Residents Bill of Rights.

Together we hope this will help you as leaders in Prescott Russell and  bring about positive change.  Others now add their voices for those still in Residence and speak for those who have sadly passed.

Regards,

Rainer Pethke

Louise Sproule

Louise Sproule has been the publisher of The Review since 1992. A part-time job after high school at The Review got Sproule hooked on community newspapers and all that they represent. She loves to write, has covered every kind of event you can think of, loves to organize community events and loves her small town and taking photographs across the region. She dreams of writing a book one day so she can finally tell all of the town's secrets! She must be stopped! Keep subscribing to The Review . . . or else!

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