Resident-on-Resident Abuse in Long-Term Care Homes

February 26, 2013 Hull & Hull LLP In the News Tags:

In a Hull & Hull podcast, Natalia Angelini and Stuart Clark discuss the Long-Term Care Homes Act and the Residents’ Bill of Rights.  But, are these legislative measures effectively protecting residents in long-term care facilities? 

Through an access to information request, a W5 investigation uncovered that there are 10,000 reported incidents of violence by residents against other residents in long-term care homes in Canada each year.   Under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, the Ministry of Health has the power to take over a facility’s management and to shut it down.  However, W5 found that neither of these penalties have been used.  In cases of resident-on-resident abuse, the most that has been done is to require that the home submit a plan with respect to how they would cease violating the Act. 


For residents such as Frank Piccolo, this offers little protection.  The Toronto Star reported that as Mr. Piccolo, who suffers from Parkinson’s and dementia, sat in his wheelchair, another resident with dementia entered his room twice in one night and attacked him.  The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care report of the incident states that the staff knew for weeks that the woman who attacked Mr. Piccolo had previously attacked other residents, but they failed to supervise her.  Mr. Piccolo was unable to protect himself as his attacker hit him repeatedly over the face and head with a wooden activity board.  The Toronto police were called, but despite evidence of assault, they did not lay charges against the woman or the facility. 


Under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, the home has a duty to provide residents with a safe environment.  An investigator at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care found that the home had violated the Act and had failed in its duty to protect Mr. Piccolo.  After the attack, the home was required to provide a report as to how it would comply with the Act.  They installed video surveillance in the unit where Mr. Piccolo lived.   Should more be done to protect residents from other residents in long-term care homes?


Holly LeValliant


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