Right in the centre - Truth and consequences


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Truth: Trudeau can fly to Glasgow to meet with 30,000 strangers from all over the world, but Parliament meets by Zoom.

Consequences: Trudeau is being scorned by more and more Canadians.

Truth: COVID-19 is a serious disease with serious results.

Consequences: Less than five per cent of Manitobans got infected with C-19. The vast majority recovered with few effects. Some got really sick and about 1,300 died  in the province over 20 months.That’s about 65 out of 1,029 deaths per month in Manitoba from all causes.

Truth: 18,141 people in Canada died from C-19 over the age of 80. 11,100 in all other categories, including 6,086 in the 70-79 age group. 19 died in the 0-19 age group.

Consequences: The focus of protection and control for C-19 has largely been misdirected. How to protect and treat older people should have had a far larger emphasis.

Truth: The majority of cases and deaths have been in care homes.

Consequences: Care homes have fought a good fight, but have lost a lot of people. The number of deaths shows how inadequately we have researched and funded the care for our elderly.

Truth: Jan Legaros of the Long Term Care Association of Manitoba said in an interview with The Banner & Press, “Care homes have been underfunded in Manitoba for 20 years.”

Consequences: Two political parties, and now four premiers, have presided over this shortfall. The staffing levels, the research levels, the study of best practises across Manitoba or from other areas have been lacking. Nutrition standards at care homes are inadequate. As far as we know, supplementation with vitamins and minerals are lacking, if they exist at all, and if residents become dehydrated, IV fluids are not administered in care homes. They are not able or allowed to do so. Residents have to go hospital for that level of care. (Note: If that is incorrect, please let me know.)

Truth: When C-19 broke out, the care homes were disallowed to utilize their best (and free) resource, namely family and volunteers.

Consequences: Hundreds of residents suffered from neglect, loneliness, dehydration and  a general lack of attention. In some cases, it was the fault of care home management, but in most cases, it was due to simply not enough staff and banning volunteers.

Truth: Many elderly people, with or without getting C-19, simply gave up when family and volunteers stopped coming to see them.

Consequences: Many died early deaths and sometimes alone and afraid.

Truth: The Canadian government actually owns many care homes and operates them on a for-profit basis. The federal government, through the crown corporation Public Sector Pension Investment Board, is the sole owner of Revera Inc.– and therefore the owner of Canada’s second-largest chain of for-profit long-term care facilities.

Consequences: By taking a profit for their own pension fund, the Canadian government robs care homes of money that should go into more staffing and research. Let that sink in for bit and see if it doesn’t make you very angry.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.