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Closed to new admissions for over a year, Fergus long-term care facility gets ministry approval to fill its 42 vacant beds

In 2017, Caressant Care Fergus was cited in ministry reports to have failed to ensure that the home, furnishings and equipment were kept clean and sanitary, among other concerns
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(stock photo)

A Fergus long-term care home that was ordered by the province to cease new admissions more than one year ago can once again begin taking new residents.

Next week, Caressant Care Fergus will begin to fill its 42 currently vacant beds, said Stuart Oakley, communications and marketing manager for Caressant Care Nursing and Retirement Homes Ltd.

Caressant Care Fergus is a for-profit long-term care home on Queen Street East in Fergus which supports a total of about 87 beds. The first new admission at the home is expected on Feb. 26.

Oakley said there are currently about 10 to 15 people on the waiting list to get into the home, many of which are waiting in alternate level of care facilities at area hospitals.

The Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has been working with Caressant Care and Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to get the home back into compliance, said Blair Philippi, interim lead for long-term care at the LHIN.

Philippi said the 42 spaces now available at Caressant Care Fergus are needed to address the demand for long-term care in the area.

“Although it seems like a net increase, it’s actually the same amount of beds we have in the system — it’s simply reactivating them,” said Philippi.

The LHIN manages the admissions and wait lists for local long-term care homes.

“Over the last couple of years we are seeing more and more individuals who are considered crisis or in urgent need for long-term care going into the homes. That shows us we need more capacity and more long-term care beds,” said Philippi.

People seeking to transition into a long-term care home can choose up to five facilities, said Phillips, but may have to wait longer to get into their preferred long-term care home.

“Generally speaking, we have greater demand for long-term care in Guelph than we have capacity,” he said.

Prior to it’s order to cease admissions in October of 2017, Caressant Care Fergus was cited in ministry reports to have had a history of non-compliance in the subsection of the legislation which covered Duty to protect and that the licensee ‘has failed to ensure that the home, furnishings and equipment were kept clean and sanitary.’ 

At the time, observations of randomly selected home areas and rooms identified stained flooring in five resident rooms, hallways and lounge, as well as ‘lingering, foul odours’ detected in three resident rooms.

Further, dark debris was found to have accumulated on baseboards in the bedrooms or bathrooms of four resident rooms, as well as in several door frames of resident rooms.

Oakley said Caressant Care has been focussed on addressing those issues in the year and three months they were ordered to cease admissions.

“We have a new team, we have done extensive staff training and we have updated facility with new furniture and painting and I think that all (speaks) to where we are today, with beds that are open and ready to receive residents,” said Oakley.