Families deal with uncertainty as Winnipeg is faced with deadly outbreaks in personal term care homes

‘We feel he’s just not getting the care that he should be getting…’

The Manitoba government and the for-profit company who owns several care homes in Winnipeg have come under fire for its handling of COVID-19 outbreaks at two personal care homes resulting in at least 45 deaths.

Parkview Place and Maples Long Term Care Homes are both in the grips of an outbreak.

Lisa Muswagon hasn’t been able to see her father Charles Scribe for three-and-a-half months because of visitor restrictions in place due to the outbreak at Parkview Place.

The 72-year-old has been at Parkview since spring. He requires round the clock care due to a neck injury from a road rage incident several years ago, according to Muswagon.

She says the family is dealing with a lot of uncertainty.

“We feel he’s just not getting the care that he should be getting…if that’s not going on with my dad I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of families that are concerned for their loved ones in there,” Muswagon tells APTN News.

Lisa Muswagon last saw her father Charles Scribe just over three months ago due to an outbreak at his care home. Photo courtesy: Lisa Muswagon

An outbreak was declared at the care home in September. There have been at least 23 deaths linked to the outbreak.

Muswagon says she’s only had a couple of video chats with her father in the meantime, but they haven’t been reassuring conversations.

She says her father has resorted to calling family members when he can to ask them to call the front desk because no worker has come to his room to help assist him.

“We started calling the front and then there’s be no answer and so we started getting concerned about his level of care and if it was being met,” says Muswagon.

Read More: APTN News coverage of COVID-19 

In the Winnipeg region there are 38 care homes with 23 of them currently dealing with outbreaks.

Over the weekend paramedics were called to the Maples Long Term Care Home to help provide assistance for several patients whose health was deteriorating.

A social media post by someone on scene later stated the facility was severely understaffed and many residents were dehydrated or hungry.

In less than two weeks 22 people have died and eight people died within a 48-hour time span.

Revera and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) addressed media a day after the incident where they disputed the post and said staffing levels were adequate.

By Monday, the WRHA confirmed this wasn’t the case, and apologized to families for providing misinformation.

“We’ve let you down. We accepted and transmitted incorrect information and we are here to assure you that we’re going to do it differently,” says WRHA CEO and president Vickie Kaminski.

Kaminski added the, “less than fulsome disclosure,” has put a strain on the relationship between the WRHA and Revera.

The health authority will be sending in workers to the homes effective immediately to monitor the situation and ensure information distributed from Revera is correct.

In a statement released Monday evening Revera senior vice president Wendy Gilmour offered an apology and says the, “disclosure of inaccurate information was not deliberate.

“There is no excuse for inaccurate disclosure, and we will be putting processes in place to ensure that this kind of mistake does not happen again.”

The health minister has since called for investigations into what has happened at the two care homes.

The Red Cross is now assisting, but others including Muswagon believe the military should be called in like they were in Ontario in the summer.

“As a human being you’re depending on the system and it’s just absolutely failing you and it’s failing your loved one,” says Muswagon.

“It’s just so frustrating.”

The WRHA says calling in military isn’t off the table but they are not relying on that option at this time.

For now, Muswagon is looking for a safe way to bring her father home.

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