canadasvoice:The Ontario government is investigating the case of an 82-year-old grandfather whose body decomposed in his Toronto retirement home when nobody noticed he was not showing up for his meals.
Roy Gillett was dead from a heart attack and decomposing in his bed for at least three days — his family believes it was five days — before his body was discovered on May 23, 2017 at the Bill McMurray Residence. A fellow resident asked the home to check on Roy, when she noticed his absence from the home’s common dining room.
That’s when he was found, sheets pulled up to his neck, his body rotting and bloated, with purge fluid coming out of his nose and mouth, according to a coroner’s report. The Star published the story of the grandad and his outraged family earlier this week.
On Friday, Ontario’s Minister of Seniors Affairs, Dipika Damerla, told the Star she will work alongside the industry regulator, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, to find out why the home didn’t thoroughly check on Roy after he disappeared.
In a statement, Damerla said she will “make sure they (the regulator) use all the powers provided to them under the Retirement Homes Act to determine the exact details of the case, what went wrong and make the necessary inquiries to ensure this does not happen again.”
Roy’s son, Rick, 50, welcomed Damerla’s promise of a proper investigation but stressed the family’s goal in telling their story is to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else — including residents in other homes.
The issue, Gillett said, is not that their father died in bed from a heart attack, but that no one from the home checked on him before his body had turned into a mess.
“I’m glad to see that something will be done — I just hope it’s enough,” Rick said. “How long will it take to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”
The retirement home had said it did nothing wrong because its residents live independently and staff were not required to knock on the door. The executive director of the home, Bryce Taylor, also said the home has “reviewed our routines” and is now using weekly management meetings to avoid similar incidents. “We will continue to fully co-operate with RHRA, as we have in each of the annual reviews of the Bill McMurray Residence,” Taylor said Friday.
Describing what happened to Gillett and his family as “circumstances that no one should have to face,” the retirement home regulator said that while it was not initially told about the death, it is now investigating “to determine if the home met its legal requirements.”
Roy’s family said they were traumatized after discovering the state of their father’s body. Rick learned of his father’s death and had just arrived in the home’s lobby when he saw the body removal workers in protective white booties pushing a swollen body bag out of the main doors. He rode the elevator to the the third floor where his dad had lived in Room 305. The doors slid open and Rick said he was hit with the lingering odour of his father’s body.
“I smelled something that I’ve never in my life smelled and I’ve never forgotten it — I could taste it. I can still taste it,” he said.
Roy’s family believes he was dead for five days, based on his last known sighting — dinner in the retirement dining room on the previous Thursday May 18 — as well as his cellphone log, which showed no outgoing calls since that Thursday, and the powerful smell from his room.
The Gillett siblings — Rick, Bill, 57 and Courtney, 47, — said they didn’t get answers from the home or the coroner’s office, which ordered an autopsy but didn’t investigate further.
Dr. Roger Skinner, the regional supervising coroner (another coroner handled the case) said he is now considering a review of the case.
“I will contact the family to hear their outstanding concerns and we will consider our options about further investigation.”
Asked why the coroner’s office did not report the condition of Roy’s body to the retirement home regulator, Skinner said he was told it was not a retirement home.
Licensed by the regulatory authority, the Bill McMurray Residence in Toronto’s west end is focused on providing housing for “marginalized” adults and seniors, including frail seniors with addictions and psychiatric issues. Roy liked his beer, his family said, but was only in the home to avoid falling and being left alone.
Retirement homes are different from nursing homes. Residents have more freedom to come and go from their rental units but still have rules that must be followed. Residents rent rooms and pay for services such as daily meals and housecleaning. Extra services include companionship or help with bathing. Roy’s contract included three meals a day plus an evening snack and weekly housecleaning. He moved into the home in January of 2016 after a fall in his townhouse left him alone, on the floor for hours, his family said. Roy’s eldest son, Bill, 57, said the admission staff there told him verbally they would check on his dad every day.It’s been nearly a year since Roy’s death. The family is still grieving, Rick said. He promises to watch how the government’s investigation unfolds.“I hope it’s not just blowing smoke now that the (newspaper) and people are getting involved. It seems a little bit late, too late for my father, but better late than never.”…More
Source – Toronto Star