Retirement home licence yanked due to incompetent mismanagement: RHRA

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Citing irresponsible and incompetent management of finances and staff, an order has been issued for a Dresden retirement residence to cease operations, leaving an uncertain future for its residents.

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Citing irresponsible and incompetent management of finances and staff, an order has been issued for a Dresden retirement residence to cease operations, leaving an uncertain future for its residents.

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An order to revoke the licence of Park Street Place retirement home was made by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) on Monday against the owner listed as numbered company 1615412 Ontario Inc.

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The 48-bed facility is to cease operations as a retirement residence by May 29 unless is it sold to another operator approved by the RHRA.

The Chatham Daily News went to Park Street Place and was told no one there would talk about the situation. Contact information was left, but management has not called to provide comment.

The revocation order stated the deputy registrar has reasonable grounds to believe the licensee has contravened numerous requirements under the Retirement Homes Act including failing to provide necessary care and failing to protect residents from neglect.

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The order specifically states the licensee has failed to demonstrate competence to operate the home in a responsible manner or is in a position to “appropriately provide care services” to residents.

The home is operating in a “critical state of debt, which has resulted in staffing, vendor and supplier interruptions,” the order adds.

The order also notes the licensee’s late or insufficient staff payments, including failing to make contributions to the unionized staff pension fund, “has resulted in staff resignations or leaves of absence which has left the home insufficiently staffed and residents not receiving adequate care.”

The licensee is focused on reducing expenses and not ensuring resident needs and health are safeguarded and the order notes it is the opinion of the deputy registrar the licensee’s “financial and staffing mismanagement of the home is irresponsible, incompetent and prejudicial to resident health, safety and welfare.”

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As the Daily News reported last fall, staff shortages at the home prompted the RHRA to issue a management order on Sept. 25, 2023 for the retirement residence to hire an interim manager, at its own expense, to manage the operations. The revocation order states the licensee has failed to compensate the manager, which has “adversely impacted” the manager’s ability to help operate the facility.

According to a previous report, a RHRA inspector received anonymous reports alleging missed care, including assistance with bathing, in part due to insufficient staffing.

The Daily News could not reach the Service Employees International Union for comment regarding this latest situation.

Last September, a SEIU member working at Park Street Place told The Daily News: “As an employee, I don’t feel the integrity of staff and lack of staff is anyone’s fault other than ownership.”

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The staffer, who didn’t want to be identified, alleged at the time, ownership has not been involved or heard the needs of the facility on a day-to-day basis.

“It has been brought to attention of ownership numerous times of the need of a backup plan of an outside agency for emergency situations, which was never addressed,” the staffer said.

While the situation creates uncertainty for the residents, they have options.

Residents do have rights if they don’t want to leave a retirement home that has had its licence revoked, said Graham Webb, lawyer and executive director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

A retirement home can no longer provide meals and care services without a proper licence, but it doesn’t mean the tenants have to leavee, he said.

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“The residents would still have all of the legal rights of tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act,” Webb said.

“One of those rights is security of tenure, meaning that a tenant cannot be evicted without cause and without due process.

“If the home operator wants to evict a tenant, it must serve a notice and obtain an eviction order from the Landlord and Tenant Board,” he said.

Webb said the tenants could arrange their own meals and care services from external service providers, if they wish.

“The revocation of a retirement home’s licence is something RHRA does not take lightly,” said manager of communications Phil Norris.

He said the RHRA issued no order to revoke any home’s licence during the 2022-23 fiscal year. However, during the past four years, the RHRA issued 16 revocation orders, he said.

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The RHRA considers special facts and circumstances in each case to determine what action may be necessary to protect the safety and wellbeing of residents, Norris said.

“When it comes to revoking a home’s licence, RHRA will consider the seriousness of any non-compliance as well as issues such as whether the licensee can competently operate the home in a responsible manner and in a way that is not detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of residents.”

Generally speaking, Norris said if a home isn’t meeting the requirements in the act, “we will work closely with them to help bring them into compliance, using our compliance support program, enforcement orders and/or administrative penalties, for example.

“Revoking a home’s licence is undertaken only when a home has demonstrated it cannot or will not comply with the Retirement Homes Act,” he added.

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