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Murder, Abuse, and Neglect at Caressant Care

Toronto Star

Following a series of elder abuse scandals, authorities have determined that Caressant Care, a nursing  home in Woodstock, Ontario, can no longer accept new residents. The most salient case of misconduct at the facility culminated with the arrest of former aide Elizabeth Wettlaufer last October.

Murder, Abuse, and Neglect at Caressant Care

Wettlaufer faces numerous charges of murder and attempted murder, the victims being residents of Caressant Care and other facilities she worked at. In fact, according to the allegations, Wettlaufer murdered seven residents of Caressant Care up until 2014, when she stopped working there.

But the murders may not be the only horrifying acts to have taken place at Caressant Care. According to witness accounts, other residents may have been affected in more subtle ways.

Last December, Cathy Long and Jenny Rowe unveiled the story of their mother, Mary Long, who had allegedly been neglected during the 15 months she spent at Caressant Care. The women have told reporters that they would often find Mrs. Long in dirty diapers and soaked in food.

They also claim that staff often disregarded Long’s broken bones and her inability to eat in the dining room, and that they once had to insist for over 10 days so that their mother would receive a prescription for urinary tract infection.

On one occasion, the two daughters found their mother screaming in pain after a fall. When they tried to call 911, so she would be taken to a hospital, they encountered hostility from staff. But the resident was ultimately taken to a medical facility, where she received proper care. She did not return to the nursing home.

In a statement, following Rowe and Long’s accusations, Caressant Care representatives commented, “We do take the family’s concerns very serious in this instance; however, we reject that the resident involved received anything but caring and professional support and attention.” 

An inspection that took place last September had already revealed several instances of systematic abuse and neglect at Caressant Care. >From staffers “providing care... in a rough and forceful manner,” to care that was “neglectful in nature,” the report mentioned many alarming incidents. Instances of physical abuse were also mentioned in the document.

On every occasion, Caressant Care had failed to follow the proper channels when concern of potential abuse had been raised by staff, residents, or families. As employees are currently uncertain about the future of the facility, the residents` health and safety may be even more compromised than before.

Families of residents who brought forward concerns about neglect and abuse claim that very little has changed within the walls of the facility ever since the alleged misconduct came to light. It remains to be seen whether a thorough police investigation will succeed at bringing some relief to the victims and their families.