Canada hasn’t learned, Ontario Nursing home residents abused

Seniors in Ontario nursing homes are being beaten, neglected and even raped by the people hired to care for them, a Star investigation has found.

In one case, a helpless 71-year-old Toronto woman with advanced dementia was raped in her bed, allegedly by a male nurse identified months earlier by other staff at the home as someone who regularly disappeared on shift “without explanation.”

A staff member discovered the male nurse in Danae Chambers’ room in the middle of the night. Chambers, a renowned portrait artist, lay sideways on her bed and the male nurse, pants dropped to his knees, stood against her bare buttocks, according to a provincial inspection report.

“I trusted them to take care of her,” said Chambers’ close friend and guardian, Anna Schrofer. “I tried so hard to find the right home for her and everyone said this was the best.”

In another case, this one in a North York nursing home, a staff member first physically assaulted a resident, then warned a witness “not to tell anyone,” a provincial inspector found. Two staff members who were aware of the abuse didn’t report it.

A worker at a Port Dover home “cuffed” a resident on the head, another inspection report said.

There were at least a dozen cases in which the attacks were so serious, ministry inspectors determined the home should have immediately notified police. But the homes delayed and sometimes never bothered calling the cops — pointing to a culture of secrecy in some nursing homes

Seniors advocates agree that cases of abuse in long-term care are under-reported. According to the reports the Star obtained, more than 10 residents in Ontario each month are punched, pushed, verbally abused or sexually assaulted.

In the majority of the known cases, the abuser was a staff member. In others, the assault was resident on resident.

Eight years after Star stories documenting problems brought a provincial vow of improved care, the same problems exist.

The problems continue because the nursing home system is taking increasingly sick and demented residents but lacks the money for increased staffing levels to provide a minimum amount of daily care.

Personal support workers who do the majority of hands on work are not regulated and have little training to manage residents with complex needs.

What has changed is the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s inspection system. Just over a year ago the ministry rolled three confusing nursing home acts into one piece of legislation in response to a 2003 Star investigation.

The new inspection system — with a focus on resident complaints — is now uncovering hundreds of cases of assault and neglect.

The Star obtained more than 1,500 inspection reports carried out since the new rules began. Each inspection was done in response to either a complaint of poor care or the nursing home’s own reporting of a critical incident such as an alleged assault or broken bones from a fall.

The system relies on homes volunteering negative information about themselves or residents speaking out, even though many fear repercussions.

Of 1,500 inspection reports (the Star obtained about 70 per cent of reports from the last year), serious problems were found in 900 cases. Of those, roughly 125 were abuse related, 350 revealed neglectful treatment of a senior and the remainder found other types of poor care. There are 627 homes in Ontario with 77,000 residents.

Today’s story focuses on abuse.

In the case of well-known Canadian portrait artist Danae Chambers, police have laid a sex assault charge against a male registered practical nurse, a job that requires two years of college training compared to a current registered nurse’s four-year university degree. The case is before the courts.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Chambers painted elite political, business and literary figures. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was one of her subjects.

Earlier, she studied art at the University of Oxford and for many years lived in Menton, in the south of France, where she created oil paintings of the region’s lush gardens.

Chambers began showing signs of dementia in the early 1990s and by 2006 was a resident of Castleview Wychwood Towers, a City of Toronto-run nursing home.

Her brother in British Columbia asked her close friend, Anna Schrofer, to be power-of-attorney. Schrofer visits her regularly and uses money from the sale of Chambers’ paintings to pay for a private worker to provide extra care. Chambers is divorced. She has a son whose whereabouts is unknown to the family.

“This is a woman who can do absolutely nothing. She cannot speak, she cannot stand, she is totally reliant,” said Schrofer.

Chambers lives in a tiny, shared room. Though victims of sexual assault are not usually identified in the media, Schrofer and Chambers’ brother, Parker Williams, said they wanted her name used to draw attention to the dangers vulnerable women face in nursing homes.

“It was shocking, improper and it should be stopped,” Williams said.

In Chambers’ case, the provincial inspection report reveals that the home was warned by a staffer two months before the alleged attack that a male registered practical nurse who was supposed to be watching “high risk” residents in one area was “returning late from breaks and (had) unexplained absences from his assigned duties.”

According to ministry reports, he was discovered in Chambers’ room on April 4.

At 3:05 a.m., a staff member saw a male nurse standing at Chambers’ bedside, his pants halfway down his legs.

The man was standing behind Chamber’s exposed buttocks, which were “positioned at the edge of the bed.” His body was “facing (Chamber’s) buttocks.” The bed had been positioned at a height between his hips and waist.

According to the report, her back and breasts were exposed; fluid was coming out of her mouth and her eyes were open.

Chambers’ diaper was lying on her wheelchair seat. Three disposable gloves and two wet face cloths were on the floor.

Chambers’ friend, Schrofer, said the worker who witnessed the alleged assault reported it immediately. Schrofer got a call from police early in the morning and she went to the home to comfort her friend.

Leonid Kozlov, now 46, is facing a sex assault charge. He had worked at the home for about five years.

The home’s administrator, Nancy Lew, said she could not comment on the alleged assault, nor on the earlier warnings, because the case is before the courts.

The ministry inspector’s report concluded that the nursing home failed to investigate the earlier allegations.

Ministry officials prepare two very different reports of an incident. One with detailed findings is given to the home’s management. Another version, typically sanitized of key details, is posted in a public place in the nursing home so families and prospective residents can see the kind of care offered in the home.

In Chamber’s case, the posted report is a sanitized version. This happens all the time, the Star found.

The public report does say the home “failed to protect an identified resident from abuse” but does not go into detail, saying only that “a staff member was found on an unassigned unit.”

The home’s version gives precise details of the alleged assault and the previous written warnings. The ministry refused to give Schrofer a copy so she found a lawyer at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly who got it for her.

Most of the 1,500 reports the Star obtained for this story were the sanitized versions.

Reading them, it was impossible to know how many of the abuse cases were actually sexual assaults. There are dozens that found homes failed to “protect” a resident from abuse, but they lack detail.

The sexual assault of elderly women was the focus of a conference held last summer by the International Federation on Aging.

Greg Shaw, the federation’s spokesperson, said the topic was requested by two Liberal ministers, Laurel Broten, now the education minister and former Senior’s Minister Sophia Aggelonitis, defeated in the October election.

In her speech, Broten said that elderly women rarely report sexual abuse, often out of shame, so official statistics are likely very low.

“We need to talk about ways to increase the reporting of sexual abuse of older women,” Broten said.

“We need to start today, discussing how we can better protect and support older women in health and home care settings as well.”

In some cases, people with dementia act out sexually and require intense intervention to protect fellow residents.

Other sexual assault cases found in inspection reports include:

At Leisureworld Brampton Woods, a male resident sexually assaulted an elderly woman. The report said the same man had 18 recent encounters with other residents, all involving sexual assaults, inappropriate touching or verbal abuse. This had been going on for 10 months. The ministry found the home did not properly follow up with the man or the resident he assaulted.

Brampton Woods administrator, Janet Groux, said staff has since received extensive training on follow-up procedures and education on dementia to keep the other residents safe. The home also received special funding from the ministry for a 90-day program that gave the resident one-on-one attention.

The resident needs constant attention because in one case, when a female resident walked past him, he reached out and touched her chest, Groux said.

“This is not the way he was (in life),” she said. “Staff needed to be trained in ways to stop him because he does not know what he is doing.”

At north Toronto’s Valleyview Residence, a staff member learned that a visitor allegedly sexually assaulted a resident but the staffer didn’t report it. The employee didn’t notify anyone until the resident’s family complained about the abuse a second time.

“The staff member made a judgment call, albeit wrong looking back, and didn’t report it to the administration,” said Mike Savatovich, the home’s administrator.

Once management learned of the alleged sexual assaults, the home contacted the ministry and police, he said. The employee was retrained on recognizing and reporting abuse, and the home installed cameras in the hallways.

The Star found about 40 cases where homes delayed or didn’t bother reporting abuse to the ministry, as they are required to.

At Leisureworld Caregiving Centre – Cheltenham, on Bathurst St. near Steeles Ave. West, a staff member abused a resident then told a witness “not to tell anyone,” an inspector found.

At least two staff members knew about the assault and didn’t report it.

When management found out, it reported the assault and fired the abusive staff member, said Lisa Egan, Leisureworld’s vice-president of communications. Education was provided so that “every single person is fully trained and oriented on our zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse,” she said.

Many employees don’t report abuse because they fear retaliation from their employers, said the president of the Service Employees International Union.

“They are afraid,” said Sharleen Stewart, whose union represents 50,000 Ontario front-line health care workers, including 22,000 in nursing homes.

“Often the administrator tells them not to report (to the ministry), nor to the families or doctors. The administrator says the home will take care of it.

“Many of these workers are new immigrants and are sending money back home. Going to the ministry would open such a big event in their lives, they are afraid to do it.”

Analysis of inspection reports shows aggressive residents — and the homes’ ability to manage their behaviour — is a growing problem.

Dementia levels are on the rise and when elderly people suffer from dementia they can become angry, violent and sometimes overtly sexual.

Nursing home staff need special training because, for example, a worker who rushes a resident with Alzheimer’s out of bed or speaks to them brusquely can turn a routine encounter into a brutal one.

One case, at Extendicare Guildwood in Scarborough, showed that homes have to be constantly on guard to protect residents from harm.

A resident hit her roommate with a hard-plastic “wet floor” sign as the woman lay in bed.

Despite the attack, an inspector found the nursing home “failed to remove the specific object out of the resident’s area.”

The home’s cleaning staff now carries the signs with them when they are not in use, said administrator Andre Barros. The home also moved the assailant to a new room, where Barros said she gets along with her neighbours.

“We as a home try to protect our residents, that’s our top priority,” he said.

A family from Strathroy, near London, complained about a different kind of abuse.

Nancy Eaton said her husband, Brian, 69, was given a powerful drug to stop him from wandering around Strathmere Lodge.

Eaton said before her husband developed dementia he had the ability to fix anything around the house.

Like many with dementia in nursing homes, he was a wanderer who liked to tinker with clocks and furniture. Eaton said he had no problems in his previous nursing home but staff at Strathmere complained that he was aggressive.

“They didn’t take any time to get to know him. He was lost within the building, he didn’t even know where he was,” Eaton said.

Medical records from the home show he was given Haldol, an old version of the anti-psychotic drugs that were used to treat people with schizophrenia.

Two medical geriatric experts, Dr. David Conn of Baycrest and Dr. Paula Rochon of Women’s College Hospital, told the Star the drug has very serious side effects among the elderly, including Parkinson-like tremours, and is not commonly used.

Eaton said her husband had a brain seizure and now, four months later, can no longer wander around the home. He sits in his wheelchair or lies in bed.

The home’s administrator, Tony Orvidas said he has never heard that Haldol should not be given to the elderly. He refused to speak about the case, saying, “I’m not going to get into a pissing match.”

Employees did take action — amongst themselves — to stop a colleague who “cuffed” a resident in the head and was rough with another resident at Dover Cliffs nursing home in Port Dover, near Hamilton.

They did not, however, immediately tell the home’s management so the abuse was not reported to the ministry until five days later.

The abusive employee was fired and all staff members were required to be retrained on the home’s policy on zero tolerance for abuse, said Janet Ko, spokesperson for the home’s parent company, Revera Long Term Care.

The assault happened last April. Three staff heard a resident yell and asked the worker what had happened. According to the inspection report, the worker demonstrated how they “cuffed” the resident on the head.

On the same day, the worker in question was seen feeding a resident in a rough manner.

The resident said, “You are hurting my mouth.”

The worker replied, “Then be quiet and eat your food.”

Data analysis by Andrew Bailey

Moira Welsh can be reached at (416) 869-4073 or

Jesse McLean can be reached at (416) 869-4147 or jmclean@thestar.

Save Laurens heart PLEASE here’s how you can help


About Me

I found out that my heart was failing in October 2007 at 25 years old.

About me:  I am 29, I live in NYC, and I am on a non-stop quest for healing.
I have a chronic illness called Scleroderma / Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.

The doctors believe that the Scleroderma has affected my heart causing it to be 70% covered in scar tissue. I believe my heart was damaged by a virus that went to my heart since I was on so many immunosuppresive drugs due to my underlying autoimmune disease –and my body could not fight it off.

I also have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted in my chest.

The docs tell me there is no cure for Scleroderma.  They tell me my heart condition will end in only one place: a HEART TRANSPLANT.

Yet, I am determined to CURE MYSELF! I know there is a way.

Thanks for being in my world

Become a fan and help spread awareness


Mia’s Thoughts- I write a lot about my life my abuse the plight of the wheelchair using community and I really do try to help all who need it.The story above needs you needs me needs our money needs us to be registered organ donors it needs the whole community to just give for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do. I have 68,000 readers on my blog and 100,000 in europe in 150 countries and I’m asking all of you to help SAVE LAUREN thankyou.

Wheelchair-bound man claims bus driver discriminated against him following trip to zoo

Reposted from a story by: Tony Keim

Peter Parkes has launched action against Kangaroo Bus Lines and Martin Creek after an incident outside of the zoo during which Mr Parks and his family tried to board a bus.

 Details of the action were revealed in a recent ruling by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal regarding an application by the parties to be represented during a compulsory conference.

QCAT senior member Clare Endicott, in a four page written decision, said Mr Parkes claims a bus driver had been “rude” and “humiliated” him as he attempted to board a 649 bus to take him to the Landsborough railway station.

 Ms Endicott said Mr Parkes and his family had missed an earlier 615 bus, which would have taken them directly home to Maroochydore.

 However, Mr Parkes opted to take another bus, the 649, which would link up with another 615 bus to take him home.

 “When the 649 bus arrived, (Mr Parkes) asked the driver where the bus was going and, according to Mr Parkes, after the driver’s brief and rather unhelpful response, the bus drove off leaving Mr Parkes and his family behind,” she said.

 The tribunal was told a stranger managed to stop the bus at the entrance of Australia Zoo and inform the driver Mr Parkes wanted to get on.

 “Mr Parkes, who uses an electric powered wheelchair for mobility, alleges that the driver spoke to him in a rude manner and reluctantly put down the ramp to allow Mr Parkes to access the bus,” Ms Endicott said.

 “(He alleges) when he left the bus … the driver said further words that humiliated (him).

“Mr Parkes complains that he was subjects to unlawful discrimination by the driver and the bus company on the basis of impairment.”

 Ms Endicott did not grant the parties level to be represented at the conference.

A date for the conference is not yet known.

Thirty national disability organizations blast “Deadly Consequences” segment of the Dr. Phil show

On May 29, thirty national disability organizations lead by Not Dead Yet issued a letter to the Dr. Phil Show, criticizing its April 13th segment entitled “Deadly Consequences.” Rochester, NY (PRWEB) May 30, 2012

On May 29, thirty national disability organizations lead by Not Dead Yetissued a letter to the Dr. Phil Show, criticizing its April 13th segment entitled “Deadly Consequences.”

 According to the letter, the segment “presented the idea that parents should be able to euthanize their children who have intellectual disabilities” and did so in “such an extremely unbalanced manner as to amount to a promotion of such a deadly proposition.”

 National organizations signing onto the letter include ADAPT, the American Association of People with Disabilities, Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Easter Seals, National Association of the Deaf, National Disability Rights Network, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), The Arc of the United States United Spinal. Over sixty state and local disability organizations also joined in the letter.

The organizations call upon Phil McGraw and the Dr. Phil Show “to publicly apologize for the ‘Deadly Consequences’ segment and to give equal time to individuals with intellectual disabilities and organizations advocating their equal rights.”

“This segment was such a horrific assault on people with intellectual disabilities that ignoring it would be a dangerous mistake,” said Stephen Drake, Not Dead Yet’s research analyst. “Dr. Phil even brought in Kevorkian’s former attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, to explain why parents should be allowed to order a lethal injection for their disabled children.”

Not Dead Yet copied the letter to some of the larger advertising sponsors of the Dr. Phil Show, including XXX

 On May 18, the The Arc of the United States, which is described as “the nation’s largest organization serving and advocating on behalf of people with I/DD, with a network of over 700 chapters across the country,” issued an open lettercriticizing the “Deadly Consequences” segment as well. The Arc letter asked that Dr. Phil “plan another show that would demonstrate this history, illustrating how people with severe disabilities who were previously relegated to institutions have defied all expectations.”

Contact Information
Stephen Drake
Not Dead Yet
Diane Coleman
Not Dead Yet

Social Security disability trust fund projected to run out of cash by 2016


Reposted from an article By Brian Faler of The Washington Post

Wednesday, May 30, 7:08 AM

A government entitlement program is headed for insolvency in four years, and it’s not the one members of Congress are talking about most.

The Social Security disability program’s trust fund is projected to run out of cash far sooner than the better-known Social Security retirement plan or Medicare. That will trigger a 21 percent cut in benefits to 11 million Americans — people with disabilities, plus their spouses and children — many of whom rely on the program to stay out of poverty.

“It’s really striking how rapidly this is growing, how big it’s become and how D.C. is just afraid of it,” said Mark Duggan, a University of Pennsylvania economist and adviser to the Social Security Administration.

Part of the reason for the burgeoning costs is that the 77 million baby boomers projected to swamp federal retirement plans will reach the disability program first. That’s because almost all boomers are at least 50 years old, the age at which someone is most likely to become disabled.

The growing costs are also a result of the economy’s troubles. When people can’t find work and run through their jobless benefits, many turn to disability benefits for assistance.

“They’re desperate,” said Ken Nibali, a retired associate commissioner of the program. “Some who are marginal and struggling to have a low-paying job now literally have no options.” So, he said, “they figure, ‘I do have trouble working, and I’m going to apply and see if I’m eligible.’ ”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), said he has tried to interest fellow lawmakers in the issue, without much luck. “Nobody wants to touch things where they can be criticized,” Coburn said, adding, “the fund is going bankrupt” and “then what are we going to do?”

Applications to the disability program have risen more than 30 percent since 2007 — the last recession started in December that year — and the number of Americans receiving disability benefits is up 23 percent.

More Americans receive disability benefits than 20 years ago, although people are less likely to have physically demanding jobs, health care has improved and the Americans With Disabilities Act bans discrimination against those with handicaps.

Social Security is made up of two programs: the retirement plan supporting 40 million senior citizens and 6 million survivors, and the disability insurance program created during the Eisenhower administration.

The disability program pays benefits averaging $1,111 a month, with the money coming from the Social Security payroll tax. The program cost $132 billion last year, more than the combined annual budgets of the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor, Interior and Justice. That doesn’t include an additional $80 billion spent because disability beneficiaries become eligible for Medicare, regardless of their age, after a two-year waiting period.

The disability program is projected to exhaust its trust fund in 2016, according to a Social Security trustees report released last month. Once it runs through its reserve, incoming payroll-tax revenue will cover only 79 percent of benefits, according to the trustees. Because the plan is barred from running a deficit, aid would have to be cut to match revenue.

Duggan said the disability plan has been running on autopilot for decades and lawmakers could find savings to help avoid the scheduled cuts. While federally financed, the program is administered by the states, and disability rates among them vary widely. West Virginia topped the list in 2010, with 9 percent of residents between ages 18 and 64 receiving aid. Utah and Alaska had the lowest rates at 2.8 percent.

People whose benefit applications are rejected can appeal to administrative-law judges, and statistics show some judges are far more likely to approve benefits than others. One reason is that the program, which once focused largely on people who suffered from strokes, cancer and heart attacks, increasingly supports those with depression, back pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and other comparatively subjective conditions.

“They’re very, very hard to evaluate,” said Nicole Maestas, director of the Rand Center for Disability Research. “Reasonable people differ about what constitutes a disability.”

Statistics show that once people enter the program they are unlikely to leave, with fewer than 1 percent rejoining the workforce. Many worked “menial” jobs that didn’t offer health insurance, and the program gives them an opportunity to join Medicare long before they might otherwise qualify, Nibali said.

The agency faces a backlog of 1.4 million reviews it’s supposed to periodically conduct to ensure beneficiaries are entitled to stay on the rolls. The agency has said it doesn’t have the money to do the reviews.

Neither President Obama nor House Republicans in their proposed budgets has addressed the disability program’s shortfall.

“We’re not trying to fix every problem in America with this one document,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) of his budget plan. “We’re trying to prevent a debt crisis, and this is not a driver of our debt.”

“The administration believes that disability insurance is a vital lifeline for millions of Americans,” Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for the White House budget office, said in an e-mail. “The president remains willing to work with Congress on a bipartisan basis to strengthen Social Security and protect the millions of beneficiaries.”

He added that lawmakers didn’t fully fund the administration’s request for more money to screen beneficiaries.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), whose committee sets Social Security policy, said the program’s finances are less dire than they may appear. Congress can funnel revenue from elsewhere in the government to cover the program’s shortfall, he said.

— Bloomberg News

Dharun Ravi releases robotic apology and volunteers to do 20 days wow!

A lot was made of Dharun Ravi finally releasing an apology? Did you read it because obviously his lawyer did and edited it and removed any admission of guilt and any language that actually truly said anything?

What was jokingly called an apology, sounded more like the kind of thing the ten year old who smashed a window with a baseball is forced to say to the cranky neighbor when busted not a heartfelt “I am sorry” more” like “sorry I was caught there you happy will that do can I go now?” 30 days for invading privacy and  humiliating someone to the point where they could think of no solution other than jumping from the George Washington bridge to their death. someone dies and you get 30 days, and wow New Jersey throws in a door prize of one third off your  sentence removed for good behavior? Good behavior they haven’t even incarcerated him yet how the hell do they know how he will behave are they giving it for correctly connecting a laptop camera and transmitting gay sex to the internet? Because I thought that’s why he was going to jail not why he gets a shorter sentence.

20 days is the price of a life, 20 days from now the Ravi family can throw a welcome home party but 20 days from now the Clementi family will still be grieving.

So kids If you want to make a future, and  get a 20 day rehab payed for by the government and still be out for summer in the Hamptons go film a friend making out with a lover of the same sex and do it in new jersey the film that is.