In 2022, a Collingwood long-term care home continued to operate under a cease admissions order from the province banning any new admissions because of findings of non-compliance with Ontario standards of care.
It’s been almost 19 months since the ban was first issued by the ministry of long-term care against the county-operated Sunset Manor, and it remains in place.
According to the County of Simcoe’s warden, Basil Clarke, there are 98 residents currently living in the 148-bed facility.
“We know the 52 unoccupied beds are needed in the community, and our team is working extremely hard to see that happen,” said Clarke in an emailed statement from the county’s communications team.
Mayor Yvonne Hamlin, now also a member of Simcoe County council announced at a recent council meeting she sent a letter to the minister of long-term care, Paul Calandra, to push for the ban to be lifted so the beds could be filled.
In her letter, which she read to council members on Dec. 19, Hamlin noted the staff at the manor have been working hard to resolve the outstanding compliance orders.
“While I do not minimize the importance of ministry staff wanting to make sure the home’s operations are perfect, I want to convey the urgent need in our community for these beds to reopen,” said Hamlin, claiming to hear “almost everyday” from families in need of the services offered by the home.
“Despite the order and negative attention in local media and social media … Sunset Manor is still the home of choice for many of our residents,” said Hamlin.
In 2022, the Ministry of Long-term Care issued $27,500 in penalties to the county for ongoing violations at Sunset Manor based on inspections throughout the year.
The most recent public report published in October, based on August inspections, included two fines: one for $5,500 and one for $11,000 because of repeated non-compliance with provincial standards for skin and wound care, and medication management. Those penalties were in addition to a $5,500 fine issued to Sunset Manor in August for not meeting provincial requirements for medication management and a $5,500 fine in September for issues related to skin and wound care.
These administrative monetary penalties were issued under the 2021 Fixing Long-Term Care Act.
In an emailed statement, a minister of long-term care spokesperson referred to the October inspection report and “multiple instances of non-compliance” found during those summer inspections.
“The cease of admission will remain in place until the ministry is satisfied the home has come into compliance with the standards set out in the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021, and demonstrates they can maintain that standard,” stated spokesperson Jake Roseman.
According to Clarke, there were more ministry inspections in early December, but no public report has been released yet, and the ministry won’t comment on reports not yet made public.
By order of the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the county hired Universal Care Canada Inc., a management company, in 2021 to assist in meeting the requirements for compliance with Ontario long-term care acts.
"We continue to work collaboratively with the Ministry and UCCI, the management company assisting us to reach compliance in the home," said Clarke.
A list of past reports on Sunset Manor is available here.
“Ministry inspections exist to protect the safety and well-being of residents, ensuring they receive a consistent and appropriate level of care,” stated Roseman in an email. “The ministry continues to work closely with the home to address compliance issues through regular follow-up inspections and ongoing contact with the operator and management company.”
In 2021, the public report accompanying the ministry’s cease admissions order noted “significant areas of non-compliance,” and the director of the long-term care inspections branch, Brad Robinson, referred to the scope of non-compliance as widespread, representing “systemic failure.”
He concluded the County of Simcoe “cannot, or will not properly manage the home without assistance.”
At that time, the county disagreed with the severity of the findings, and called the cease of admissions “excessive.” They blamed what they said was the “bias” of an ex-employee who was now a ministry inspector for tainting the reporting and influencing the director’s decision.
The county filed an appeal with the divisional court, asking for the court to overturn the new admission ban. In the court documents, the province argued that the inspector was not biased, and there was enough other evidence not presented by the ex-employee to warrant the same ban on new admissions. The county appeal was dismissed.
Since the admission ban was issued, the province has published seven reports based on dozens of days of on-site inspections by various ministry inspectors. Of the findings of non-compliance documented in those reports, there are two compliance orders still remaining. In addition to those orders, inspectors issued written notices regarding incidents of a resident being transported naked across a hallway to the tub room, treatment ordered by a doctor not applied, breach of confidentiality by personal support workers, physician’s orders for wound dressings not being followed, improper, lower dose of narcotic administered, COVID-19 isolation rules not followed, and contravention of infection prevention and control.
The County of Simcoe operates four long-term care homes in Simcoe County, including Sunset Manor, Simcoe Manor (Beeton), Georgian Manor (Penetanguishene), and Trillium Manor (Orillia).
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