Long-term-care homes with city’s largest outbreaks welcome inspections

·4 min read

Inspection reports at the two largest active outbreaks in Hamilton found problems with cleaning and infection control.

Macassa Lodge on Upper Sherman Avenue has had 52 cumulative cases — 35 residents and 17 staff — and 11 deaths since Jan. 1.

The city-run senior home is even with the Meadows long-term-care facility in Ancaster, which also has 52 cases — 31 residents, 20 staff and one visitor — and has had nine deaths since Dec. 16.

Reports from public health inspections showed multiple issues in both homes.

A Jan. 3 inspection at Macassa Lodge — two days into its outbreak — found one of the units was using the same mop head for all resident rooms, instead of a separate cloth for each room. Signage was also missing, including to indicate which unit had COVID-19 cases. The inspector also found disinfectant wipes were not on medication carts, and staff were using cleaning products with long contact times — 10 minutes — and not using the chemicals per manufacturer’s guidelines.

The report added one worker was diluting an already-mixed cleaning solution. There were no logs of cleaning audits, the inspector noted.

Holly Odoardi, the lodge’s senior administrator, said the home “welcomed” the inspections.

“We always want to ensure that we’re doing our best,” she said in an interview. “There wasn’t anything significant or major,” in the inspections, she added, noting Macassa addressed the issues “swiftly.”

She said signs were removed because visitors were no longer allowed into the home, except for palliative visits, but were added again after the inspection.

Placing disinfectant wipes on a medication cart is “not a requirement” as long as the wipes are accessible, Odoardi added, “which they were.”

“But we took public health’s feedback and we have them available on the carts.”

A followup inspection on Jan. 13 said all the issues were addressed.

Odoardi said Tuesday there are six active resident cases at the home — 18 resolved — and all 17 staff cases have been resolved. No patient is in hospital, she said at the time.

“Our condolences for those at Macassa who have lost their lives to COVID, (and) anybody across our community and the world,” Odoardi said.

At the Meadows, owned by Revera, the first inspection occurred on Dec. 23, a week into the outbreak. Here, too, the inspector noted the same mop was used to clean multiple bathrooms.

Management said they were in the process of getting new carts and would use one microfibre cloth per room, the inspector noted.

Disinfectant wipes were not placed on medication carts, and the home did not have adequate garbage bins outside resident rooms, the report said. Again, cleaning products with shorter contact times (one minute or less) were needed.

A followup inspection on Jan. 4 found the Meadows still didn’t have large touchless garbage cans, noting management had ordered some. The report said the home would have to empty existing cans more frequently until the order arrived.

A third inspection on Jan. 20 found no issues of noncompliance.

In an emailed statement, Larry Roberts, director of communications, said Revera takes “the issues raised in the December inspection seriously and have addressed them.”

“We welcome the feedback and suggestions of the public health inspectors as we work to continually improve the quality and safety of the care we provide to the residents of the Meadows,” said the statement. “The Meadows is committed to doing everything we can to control the spread of COVID-19 in the home and to end the outbreak as soon as possible.”

In an email Monday, the city provided updated vaccine stats for the two homes. The mobile clinic made its followup visit to Macassa Lodge on Feb. 2 and administered 230 doses. This followed the 223 doses given on the clinic’s first visit on Jan. 12.

In an email Wednesday, Odoardi said 199 Macassa residents have received both vaccine doses. An additional 25 residents have received one dose so far, she said.

Public health spokesperson Jacqueline Durlov said COVID-19 patients can only receive vaccines once they pass 14 days of isolation and are free of symptoms.

At the Meadows, 95 doses of the Moderna vaccine were given on the clinic’s first visit mid-January, according to Durlov on Monday. The second visit is scheduled for Feb. 15. Durlov noted that, in both homes, the “majority” of doses went to residents and “a small number” of staff and essential caregivers received them.

Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator