May 23, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Retaliation against abused adults in RPAs

Retaliation against abused adults in RPAs

Managers of private seniors' residences (RPA) do not hesitate to retaliate against elderly people who have complained about cases of abuse, a researcher into the matter has found.

“[La maltraitance]It manifests itself in many ways every day,” explains Melanie Couture, research chair holder in elder abuse at the University of Sherbrooke.

She observed that the wrong medication given, some harsh care, the amount billed for the treatment was not paid in the end, the abuse was done through small gestures.

The researcher met 13 women and four men with an average age of 80 who told their stories about the abuse they experienced in RPAs located in the Longueuil metropolitan area between 2020 and 2022.

Lack of listening

In all these evidences, Mme Couture was particularly noted for not taking into account the comments of adults.



Photo courtesy of Michelle Caron/University of Sherbrooke

She specifically remembers a complaint about a carpet that was placed crookedly, which was dangerous for people with mobility issues. Despite several warnings, nothing changed until the resident was injured after falling on the mat.

“Not only do they do nothing, but in some cases they retaliate against residents who have made complaints,” the researcher noted.

Managers banished seniors from their offices after complaints, prohibited employees from talking to residents, or prevented seniors from discussing these issues with each other to avoid creating a group effect.

In one of the most extreme cases, a class action lawsuit was filed by a man who stopped paying his rent so he could be evicted for nonpayment.

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“It's the accumulation of many small things that make people not feel at home and above all not feel safe,” analyzed M.me sewing

A law, but little evidence

The problem is not unknown in Quebec, which in April 2022 amended Act 6.3 on elder abuse to include sanctions and retaliation in these types of situations.

“We need to see proof that it's been applied and put a little bit of a scare into a world that doesn't work well,” Mr.me sewing

Having multiple service providers at each RPA can provide more options if the service is not suitable for certain seniors.

“The problem when you are in residence is that there is only one service provider. If you want to change supplier you have to move,” explained an expert who has been working on this topic for ten years.

Awareness tools should also be developed to assist Quebecers who find themselves in the RPA.

“For residences that are doing well, the ones that are doing badly will give them bad press and people will be afraid to go to the residences,” she warned.

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