Coronavirus: Ontario’s patient ombudsman says complaints from long-term care homes signal crisis

Ontario’s patient ombudsman’s office says it is seeking whistleblower complaints from family members and staff at long-term care homes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a release issued Monday, the office said the amount of complaints from both residents and workers from long-term care homes in Ontario signals a real crisis in the system.

Ontario health officials have stated previously that the province is currently fighting two different disease processes. One being the community spread of the virus, which seems to have peaked. The second being the virus spread in long-term care homes and other congregate settings, which seems to be continuing to increase.

On Thursday, the federal government approved the provincial government’s request for aid from the military in several long-term care homes in Ontario.

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On Friday, forces were deployed at five homes; Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York and at Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.

Some of the complaints issued have been about staffing shortages, infection control and prevention, the inability to meet the basic care of needs and either poor or no communication.

“This is a frightening time for many patients, residents, families and caregivers,” said Craig Thompson, executive director of Ontario’s patient ombudsman. “Our goal is to learn as much as we can about how COVID-19 is affected residents and staff in long-term care homes.

“Our hope is to help long-term care homes with future pandemic planning — including additional and potential new waves of COVID-19.”

Anyone with information and/or a complaint is asked to contact the office at or 1-888-321-0339.

As of Monday morning, Ontario reported a total of 14,856 coronavirus cases and 892 deaths.

With files from The Canadian Press and Gabby Rodrigues

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