By Sarah Petz. Originally posted on CBC News
Last provincial inspection found issues with cleanliness, including filthy washrooms, evidence of cockroaches
A weekend review by a team of health officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has found changes are needed immediately at Parkview Place, the site of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at a Manitoba care home to date.
The inspection comes, after CBC News revealed the WRHA, which provides funding and oversight to the care home, had not sent a single staff member inside the privately owned, for-profit facility since March.
On Saturday, the five-person team inspected residents’ living quarters and common areas in the 12-floor Edmonton Street facility, where a COVID-19 outbreak has now led to 11 deaths. Team members also spoke with residents, staff and management at the care home.
The review identified the need for more medical and clinical staff, which could include doctors, nurses, health care aides and physiotherapists, to care for residents. Staff also need more training on outbreak protocols, a WRHA spokesperson said.
The facility also needs more cleaning staff, the review found.
“We are working with the operations team at Parkview to ensure these improvements are made immediately,” the spokesperson said.
This comes on the heels of a CBC report Monday, which found the latest provincial inspection of the care home in March found major concerns with cleanliness and infection control, including evidence of cockroaches and filthy washrooms that smelled of urine.
Parkview Place was given until December to fix the problems detailed in the March report, the WRHA told CBC News.
As of Wednesday, 106 people, including residents and staff, have tested positive for COVID-19 at the care home, according to Revera, the company that owns the home.
There were 47 active resident cases and 21 residents who have recovered, while 17 staff cases are active and 10 staff have recovered. A total of 11 Parkview Place residents who had COVID-19 have died since the outbreak began in mid-September.
The WRHA spokesperson said Wednesday the facility is experiencing “staffing challenges” during the outbreak and staff who remain at work are in need of “relief support.”
Parkview Place and the WRHA are now looking at efforts to increase staffing, including using “general workers” who can help in different roles across the facility, on-the-job training and practicum opportunities, the spokesperson said.
Last week, the president of Manitoba Nurses Union raised the alarm about staffing levels, suggesting nurses were working with half the normal complement.
The union representing staff at Parkview Place also filed a grievance over what it describes as unsafe working conditions during the care home’s outbreak.
“We are beyond an emergency, and staff are completely overwhelmed and frightened for themselves, their families, and the residents they care for,” Shannon McAteer, the health-care co-ordinator for the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2039, said in a news release.
On Wednesday, McAteer said she was pleased the care home and WRHA are looking at ways to bolster staff, but said she hasn’t had any discussions with them yet.
“I’m glad to hear that they are looking at it because that’s what we want,” she said. “We want them to look at it. There’s a staffing crisis and we need them to address that.”
Asked Wednesday whether he would be comfortable with putting his own family members in Parkview Place, Premier Brian Pallister said it broke his heart to hear about the outbreak.
“I know that family members are absorbing a lot of additional responsibilities and stress right now, too. And I’m totally sympathetic with that,” he said.
“We’re doing everything we can to address these issues and will continue to. These are precious, precious people to us and their protection is of great importance to all of us.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Revera said it’s encouraging visits from designated family caregivers to assist with resident care, including feeding, mobility, hygiene and socializing.
“Revera continues to do everything we can to keep our residents and employees safe as we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at our long term care homes and retirement residences,” said Dr. Rhonda Collins, the chief medical officer for Revera, in a written statement.
With files from Joanne Levasseur, Jill Coubrough, Kristin Annable and Bartley Kives