Regulator says staff member at Hamilton retirement home worked with COVID-19 symptoms

Ontario’s retirement home regulator has released another inspection report from a Hamilton, Ont., care facility that claims a staffer continued to work with COVID-19 symptoms ahead of a deadly outbreak.

In one of two inspections at the home in May, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) says “lack of training” led to a failure to “report and respond” when a worker exhibited symptoms of the virus that causes COVID-19 at the Rosslyn Retirement Home on King Street East.

The report refers to an inspection carried out at the Gage Park-area home a day before it was evacuated in mid-May, with 64 residents and 12 staff members testing positive for the coronavirus.

Read more: Rosslyn Retirement Residence in Hamilton appeals revoked licence amid coronavirus outbreak

The probe further reveals that staff had no training on how to properly sanitize the home, as per recommendations from the chief
medical officer of health, or use personal protective equipment (PPE), saying some staffers had to supply their own PPE, including “inadequate” cloth face masks.

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“A staff member who was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 was allowed to remain working during their shift and had close contact with numerous residents,” reads the RHRA inspection report from May 14. “This inaction by the licensee jeopardized the health of the residents.”

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The inspection preceded a final report on May 31, which claimed the licensee failed to properly store drugs securely, produce documentation to confirm that action was taken on pest control related to mice and bedbugs in the home and produce written plans for resident care that documented which patients’ needs were met.

READ MORE: Rosslyn Retirement Residence in Hamilton, Ont., has licence revoked amid deadly COVID-19 outbreak

That report also alleged the licensee attempted to obstruct the inspection, only showing the inspector fully completed resident documentation while incomplete files were said to be “off-site.”

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On June 15, the RHRA revoked the Rosslyn’s licence after the outbreak claimed the lives of 16 residents.

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A lawyer representing the Hamilton retirement home has said his client “responded appropriately” to the outbreak and has filed an appeal with Ontario’s licence appeal tribunal.

“Rosslyn welcomes the opportunity to publicly explain how it prepared for COVID-19 and to show the actions it took at the home since it was struck by this outbreak,” attorney Robert S. Brown told Global News in a statement on June 30. “Rosslyn is confident that when all information is publicly known, it can satisfy the registrar, the public and its community that it responded appropriately.”

Read more: Low staff, 83 coronavirus cases at Rosslyn retirement home in Hamilton, Ont.

Phil Norris, RHRA manager of communications, said the regulatory body issued the revocation notice on June 15 “after careful review and consideration of the information collected through inspections, complaints and reports from staff and the public.”

The City of Hamilton followed the RHRA’s lead on June 25, issuing a statement that the municipal licence was being revoked in connection to “failed inspections, complaints and reports from staff” as a result of the outbreak at the Rosslyn.

“Currently, the Rosslyn is vacant, and residents remain in the hospital. The city continues to work with the RHRA to determine appropriate supports for the residents going forward. The licence holder of the Rosslyn may seek to renew their licence and if refused, may appeal before the Hamilton licensing tribunal,” the city said in a release.

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— With files from Lisa Polewski

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.