Arthur Ross Jones died in excruciating pain because workers at the long-term care facility where he resided failed to provide the care he needed after a fall. Like many cases of elder abuse, this one may have gone unnoticed had daughter Lori Dekervor not found (almost by accident) a stinking, gaping, infected hole at the base of her father’s spine. Justifiably enraged by the discovery, Dekervor took her case to the provincial ombudsmen, and tried for justice via multiple official channels. Then, dissatisfied with the results, she decided to take legal action in the hope that bringing her father’s story to light might help others avoid the same fate.
I was deeply saddened when Lori told me what happened to her dad, but I wasn’t shocked. Nor was I shocked to hear the stories of others who had similar experiences with long-term care giant Revera, which, coincidentally, include Sue T., the friend of a friend whose elderly parents lived in a facility run by Revera. More about Sue’s story in coming weeks.
The surprising part about Dekervor, and the thirty or so families who have joined her to mount a class action suit against Revera, is that she and they have come forward. I believe elder abuse is pervasive in Canadian long-term care. The problem is, it’s also hidden, and thus hard to fight. Whistleblowers are few and far between and family members often either don’t recognize abuse if they see it or fear reprisals or even worse care if they rock the boat. Those who do complain have a hard time being heard and making their stories stick because facilities and their “experts” hold all the cards. Think David and Goliath without the happy ending.
Here’s an introduction to Dekervor’s class action story (watch the segment here on W5):