An agency that acts as an advocate for Canada’s senior population has raised concerns following the revelation of eight alleged murders in London and Woodstock nursing homes.
The Canadian Centre for Elder Law is also hoping for solutions to prevent abuse and similar cases from happening in the future.
“We know that older adults who are receiving care in those contexts are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of issues around their physical health, disability, or cognitive issues like dementia,” said CCEL National Director Krista James.
“They’re just not able to protect themselves, so they really are vulnerable to being hurt if someone in their care circle is not providing appropriate care, or is actually harming them.”
James says the alleged killings in Woodstock and London are extreme examples, but elder abuse can take many forms in a care environment.
“We also see circumstances of neglect, sometimes related to under-staffing, and we also see situations where older adults are receiving substandard care or being hurt by someone that is impatient in providing care.”
James says there are proactive steps that can be taken to prevent something like this from happening again, such as increased training for professionals working in the field of long term care.
49-year-old Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer of Woodstock remains in police custody, facing eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths police say took place between 2007 and 2014.
Provincial police say the victims at seven nursing homes in Woodstock and one in London were given a drug, but would not say what the drug was.
Wettlaufer worked at the Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock from 2007 to 2014, at Meadow Park Nursing Home in London in 2014, and most recently at Lifeguard Homecare in Brantford. She was first registered as a nurse in 1995, but resigned last month and is no longer an RN.
Photo: Krista James via Twitter