Military report on long-term care homes should be a call to action

The Durham Elder Abuse Network (DEAN) joins with our community in sadness and outrage over the treatment of our elderly citizens as witnessed by the members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed to support long-term care homes dealing with COVID-19.

We are raising our voices, joining the multitude of others who know that the issues raised in the recent Canadian Armed Forces report are not COVID-19 issues, but rather are symptomatic of problems within the long-term care system that family members and advocates for the elderly have been raising for years. The abuse and neglect identified by the Canadian Armed Forces is not isolated to the five identified homes

DEAN is a network of advocates for the elderly from for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and agencies in health care, long-term care, the retirement community, social services, and justice. Since the early 1990s, our members have been bringing forward both individual cases of abuse and systemic issues in long-term care settings related to staffing ratios, staff education and training, improper or ignored policies and procedures, lack of oversight or oversight focused in the wrong direction and financial constraints or redirection of finances away from direct care.

DEAN promotes “Dignity, Respect, and Nothing Less” for our vulnerable older adult population. Those who have paved the way for how we live our lives today deserve better.

We encourage you to call your MP and MPP and anyone else you know who may be in a position to effect change.  There is no one way to “fix” the system but a good place to start could be to reach out to and learn from frontline staff and others working in the field who have first hand experience to share.

Jennifer Josephson, Chair
Durham Elder Abuse Network

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