The World Forum - June 17th, 2024

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Retirement home removed door handles to residents' rooms during COVID outbreak


Taking the handles off doors to trap potentially COVID-positive seniors in their rooms was so “disturbing” that the president of the company that owns the retirement home in Durham Region was furious.

Now David Bird — president and CEO of Diversicare Canada, which operates White Cliffe Terrace in Courtice — has apologized.

First came revelations of quarantined travellers being confined to their hotel rooms, and now comes word a senior’s residence is being investigated for preventing residents from being able to leave their rooms.

Fortunately, Bird was quick to acknowledge the problem and took immediate action to fix it.

“I was deeply disturbed to learn that a small number of resident suite door handles were removed in our residence within the Assisted Living household – it was a violation of our protocols and practices,” he said. “As soon as we became aware of the incident, all residents’ door handles were immediately reinstalled.

Bird said the general manager of the residence has also been placed on leave

One family who has frequented the home said this would be classified as an “out of character” approach for a centre that is generally known as warm and generous.

When so many seniors have died in long-term homes as a result of the coronavirus, people are understandably frightened.

But Ontario’s Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility released a statement condemning the removal of door handles from seniors’ rooms as “completely unacceptable” and assured it “will not be tolerated.”