Are we Committing 2 Sins?

 

I learned last week that in Ontario and Quebec the epicentre of Canada’s Covid-19 19 pandemic, 28 Canadian soldiers have contracted Covid-19 while working in Long Term Care facilities. Today there was horrific news out of Ontario about 5 of those facilities. I am not commenting yet on them since the news is just coming out. Long-term care facilities have been hit hard in Canada. So hard that 82% of Canadian deaths from Covid-19 have occurred in long term care facilities. That is the first sin. After all these are the most vulnerable people in the country and they are in our care. You and I and the government are responsible for them. How could we have left them so vulnerable? Think about that percentage. It is stunning.

 

Of course personal support workers in those facilities are naturally at risk too. My son Pat’s partner Tammy works courageously in one of those facilities. And she is not well paid to do that work. I have frequently said, she does the most important work in our family. She works with adult mentally challenged men in a group home. These men are completely at the mercy of their support workers, like Tammy. And they do not understand the concept of social distancing. They just understand what they need.

 

Lee Berthiaume reported on one of those facilities in Montreal where soldiers were tending to the patients. In that facility, The Winnipeg Free Press reported last week, “residents had been nearly abandoned by staff.” I do not want to criticize the staff because I do not know what situation they were caught in, but to think about long term care residents being abandoned by staff is shocking. Apparently the staff were “overwhelmed”…providing medical assistance but also serving food and assisting with resident’s basic needs.”

 

Now we must add the case of the soldiers. It seems they are getting overwhelmed as well. Nearly 1,700 military personnel are serving in such facilities because regular staff can’t handle it.  But what about the soldiers? 28 of them have already contracted Covid-19. Are they trained for this? They are accustomed to taking risks, but this is an entirely unexpected risk. I just hope we are doing the right thing when we send them into such situations. But what else could we do when the facilities are abandoned by staff?

1 thought on “Are we Committing 2 Sins?

  1. good sir

    please address the utility of the religious metaphor, as in sin. methinks it might be more likely to maintain stasis rather than promote action. as pervasive as our guilt is, the species often wallows in it rather than develop motivation and constructive action based on it.

    as regards the meat of your missive, there is a very long history on the planet, never mind quebec, ontario, canada, etc., of the neglect of individuals living in congregate facilities of all kinds.

    since my days as the clinical director in a convalescent nursery in central brooklyn, my work with child protection personnel, and as a senior citizen
    i have been discussing the perils of living in such facilities.

    we have great difficulty recognizing vulnerability and addressing it and individuals in congregate care facilities are definitionally vulnerable by age, by disability, by orphan status, etc.

    and the cost of really addressing this would be immense, enormous. make no mistake.
    clearly nobody, including people with friends and relatives in such situations, including the religious community, including progressive/liberal political forces, have been unwilling/unable to do anything about this.

    indicative of how congregate care facilities are valorized, think on the fact that in parts of canada “refugees” are being used to work there and that their future legal status might be used to “force” them to work there going forward.

    it will take more than a response to sin to resolve this, believe me.

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