Risk levels at long-term care homes under the microscope at Wettlaufer inquiry

The focus at the Wettlaufer inquiry into safety and security of long-term care homes will turn this week to how Ontario oversees the homes as well as the home care of vulnerable people.

Philip Moorman, who works in long-term care home inspections with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, is expected to speak at the Elgin County courthouse in St. Thomas on how the ministry assesses risk levels at the care homes.

He is also expected to testify on the fluctuating risk levels at the three Ontario homes where Elizabeth Wettlaufer worked before she confessed to killing eight patients in her care and trying to kill or harm six others between 2007 and 2016: Caressant Care in Woodstock, Meadow Park in London and Telfer Place in Paris.

The ministry implemented a new inspection system in 2010 that was intended to introduce comprehensive annual inspections at the homes. But the level of scrutiny they faced was based in part on whether they self-reported critical incidents, according to testimony from Karen Simpson, former director of the ministry’s long-term care inspections branch.

Simpson said some critical incidents at Caressant Care were not reported to the ministry in a timely way, making it hard for inspectors to notice a trend

The inquiry began in June and runs until September. 

Wettlaufer, 51, was sentenced in June 2017 to eight concurrent life terms in prison.

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