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Abuse allegations surround Portage senior home

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Lions Prairie Manor is at the centre of an investigation into claims of patient abuse and neglect within the facility. (Photo courtesy Southern Health-Sante Sud)

Lions Prairie Manor is at the centre of an investigation into claims of patient abuse and neglect within the facility. (Photo courtesy Southern Health-Sante Sud)

Allegations of neglect have surfaced regarding the care of patients at Portage la Prairie's Lions Prairie Manor.

Several concerned families met with Manitoba Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living, Kelvin Goertzen Thursday after an in depth report was tabled during question period of Manitoba Legislature, detailing many accounts of neglect towards residents of the Portage senior care facility. 

The lengthy report outlined several allegations of neglect dating back months, ranging from patients forced to relieve themselves in diapers and sitting amongst their excrement for long periods of time to missing furniture and mobility aids. 

Basic grooming care that patients pay an additional fee for were also ignored.

"It’s a very broken system within the building," says Lynn White, whose father is a resident within the facility and spends more than $2,500 a month for care. "You just don’t understand it if you’re not there all the time. Some people are even paying outside organizations to come and care for their loved ones because they don’t trust the Manor employees."

The facility's Resident Bill of Rights directly states, "Every individual has the right... to be treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect by all staff and residents," and, "to retain their autonomy, and to receive assistance towards maximizing and maintaining their independence."

The report tabled during question period stems from a meeting with Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard, who met with families in Portage last month to discuss healthcare concerns. After failing to receive satisfactory information from staff at the Lions Prairie Manor, families took their concerns to Gerard who then presented the report in Legislature.

"We as a group realized that we needed to speak up to advocate for other people," adds White. "There are some great staff there but those staff are struggling to keep up with the large number of people they have to care for."

The Protection for Persons in Care Office is aware of the allegations and are currently investigating the matter. Loved ones concerned with the treatment their family members are receiving say it has been affecting residents' mental health, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety.

"The Protection for Persons in Care Office is in the process of investigating these allegations thoroughly to determine if they constitute abuse or neglect under The Protection for Persons in Care Act," said a provincial spokesperson. "These investigations are confidential, as they contain personal health information, so we’re unable to share any further details on the investigation. The findings of investigations will be shared with the facility, regional health authority management, patients and/or their families as appropriate."

According to those close to the matter, results from the investigation are expected within 60 days. 

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