The County of Simcoe says it will start welcoming new residents into its Sunset Manor long-term care home next week, but it’s unclear how long it will take to fill the 54 beds left empty after a 19-month ban on admissions.
The province issued a cease admissions order against Sunset Manor in June 2021, and since then, the home has not been permitted to bring in any new residents to the 148-bed home in Collingwood. The order was lifted by the province on Jan. 25, 2023.
An admission plan exists, according to the County of Simcoe, but the details of the transition haven’t been shared.
According to a statement released by the county’s communications team and attributed to Jane Sinclair, the general manager of health and emergency services for Simcoe County, filling the 54 empty beds at the home will take time, but there is “no set timeline.”
“This is not a sprint,” reads the emailed statement. “It is a phased and collaborative approach with the ministry [of long-term care] and Home and Community Care that will support a smooth transition for both new and existing residents.”
The county statement noted there is an admission transition team in place, and staffing at Sunset Manor is “above the provincial requirements.”
Meanwhile, the County of Simcoe has paid another $19,800 in penalties for ongoing non-compliance at Sunset Manor.
According to the latest inspection report published by the Ministry of Long-Term Care on Jan. 26, the county, as operators of Sunset Manor, has received four “administrative monetary penalties” in the amounts of $16,500 for a third offence and three $1,100 penalties for three first-time fineable offences. These penalties are in addition to $22,500 in penalties issued to the home in 2022.
These penalties cannot be paid from money allocated by the province for patient care. The County of Simcoe did not answer specific questions about where the money for the penalties has come from.
A second emailed statement from the county’s communications team, this one attributed to Warden Basil Clarke, indicated the county will comply with the fines and reiterated the care levels for the nearly 100 residents of Sunset Manor are “extremely high.”
“We will continue to work on areas of improvement; however, the ministry has reviewed the status of the home and provided approval to admit new residents,” reads the statement from Clarke. “The lifting of the suspension of admissions is great news for both Sunset Manor and the families who are waiting for long-term care placement across our region.”
Sinclair’s statement indicated there is an “admission transition team” in place and the phased approach to new admissions will allow the county to manage staffing levels while bringing in new residents.
In response to questions about who is involved in the admission team, the county reiterated the plan was approved by the province.
“It includes staff from a broad range of support teams, including primary care, nursing, social work, PSWs, dietitians and the home’s leadership,” reads the warden’s statement.
Consultants UniversalCare Cananda Inc., hired by the county after the admissions ban was issued and by order of the province, will form part of the admission team and will be overseeing the process, according to the county.
The recent administrative monetary penalties were issued under the 2021 Fixing Long-Term Care Act in cases where orders previously issued through the Ministry of Long-Term Care operations and inspections branch were not complied with by the time inspectors returned.
The largest penalty issued in the last report, for $16,500, was related to drug administration and two previous compliance orders issued in August and October, 2022. All three instances were related to the Fixing Long-Term Care Act requirements that a long-term care home licensee must ensure drugs are administered according to the directions issued by the health professional prescribing them.
Specific examples observed by inspectors included an order to decrease a medication dosage not being complied with until the next day, and orders to alert a physician when blood sugar levels drop not being followed.
Ministry inspectors stated two patients were given medication for blood sugar levels without consulting a physician, as was listed in the prescription orders. The same residents involved in these medication incidents were also involved in others documented by inspectors in a July report.
Two of the three penalties for $1,100 were also related to medication.
One resident was not given blood pressure medication even though their pressure indicated they should have received their prescription. One resident received medication in the morning they were supposed to receive in the evening, and one resident received blood pressure medicine twice in one day, despite the one-time-per-day limit prescribed. There were further incidents of medication being given or not given contrary to the prescribed orders.
The third penalty was related to ongoing non-compliance at the home in the area of wound care. The report stated the assessments of patients with skin wounds, and at risk of infections, were incomplete.
The January inspection report, which includes observations from site visits in December, includes other written notices (without penalties) for incidents in the areas of oral care, plan of care, and menu planning.
Inspectors reported three residents were observed in bed earlier than their preferred bedtime, which could negatively impact their quality of life and did not respect their choices.
According to the inspection report, two residents requiring staff assistance to clean their dentures were in bed and the toothbrushes were “dry despite the PSWs saying they used toothpaste and a toothbrush to provide oral care.”
An inspector also notes, in a written notice for the area of menu planning, that during an evening shift 21 of 26 residents in one living area refused their evening drink and snack. The Fixing Long-Term Care Act requires long-term care home operators to ensure each resident is offered a minimum of a beverage and a snack in the evening after dinner.
Two orders issued in October and July related to skin and wound care were complied with, according to the inspection report.
You can read the inspection report online here