A private long-term care home in Niagara Falls is being investigated by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
Ministry spokesman David Jensen said it conducted a complaint inspection over allegations of abuse and improper care at Bella Senior Care Residence between July 26 and Oct. 6.
The inspection report included 23 written notifications, 12 voluntary plans of correction, eight compliance orders and seven director referrals, he said.
Jensen said compliance orders were issued in the areas of police notification; plan of care; transferring and positioning; duty to protect from abuse and neglect; quality improvement; registered dietitian hours; infection prevention and control; and responsive behaviours.
He said additional non-compliances were identified related to reporting to the director; Resident Bill of Rights related to abuse; implementation of the abuse policy; actions taken in response to abuse, skin and wound care; continence care and bowel management; training of staff; medication administration and storage of medications; general program requirements; and complaints process.
A compliance order is issued by a ministry inspector to a long-term care home to correct an area of non-compliance where they are not meeting a standard cited in the Long-Term Care Homes Act, said Jensen.
“The compliance order for police notification has been complied with,” he said.
“The due date for all other compliance orders has not yet passed.”
Jensen said Bella Senior Care Residence was required to notify Niagara Regional Police of information they were aware of, as per the Long-Term Care Homes Act.
“Section 98 of the regulation requires that the licensee of a long-term care home immediately notify the appropriate police force of any alleged, suspected or witnessed incident of abuse or neglect of a resident that the licensee suspects may constitute a criminal offense,” he said.
Niagara Regional Police spokeswoman Const. Virginia Moir said detectives are investigating and “no other information is available at this time.”
The ministry licenses the long-term care home on Willoughby Drive, which opened in 2003.
Jensen would not say whether any employees at Bella have been relieved of their duties as part of the investigation.
“It is the responsibility of the licensee to manage human resources in the home, including the hiring and retention of management, as well as frontline staff. The ministry does not play a role in those decisions,” he said.
“The ministry is aware that the home has taken action regarding a number of staff in the home.”
Jensen said the home remains open, and continues to provide care for its 161 residents.
He said a cease of admissions was issued Nov. 24 due to compliance issues in the home.
The cease of admissions directs the Community Care Access Centre not to admit any more residents into the home.
Residents who are currently living at the home are not affected by the cease of admissions, said Jensen.
“The ministry continues to monitor the situation at Bella Senior Care through regular follow-up inspections, and ongoing contact with the licensee,” he said.
“Follow-up inspections will be completed for each compliance order.”
A call to Bella Senior Care Residence seeking comment was referred to the administrator’s office Tuesday.
A list of questions was referred to Michael Bausch, acting administrator.
Bausch did not directly answer the specific e-mail questions, but provided a general statement Wednesday.
“Let me assure you that at Bella Senior Care, our number one priority is to ensure that the residents we care for receive the best care and service possible,” he said.
“Historically, Bella has had a strong tradition of resident and family satisfaction, something we will look to ensure continues moving forward.”
Bausch confirmed the ministry recently conducted an inspection at Bella, and there “will be an obligation for us to take action in a few areas.”
“We take our responsibility for resident safety very seriously and will be working with our staff, our residents and our families to ensure that there are processes in place to address any and all concerns which are brought to light,” he said.
“Further, and where warranted, we will ensure that appropriate training is provided to staff to ensure that we continue to meet our obligations under relevant legislation and regulations, and according to sound principles of long term care, thereby upholding our strong history of customer satisfaction in the community.”