Canada News

Retirement home trapped seniors in rooms by removing door handles: Report

White Cliffe Terrace Retirement Residence

ONTARIO – An Ontario retirement home failed to protect its residents and confined seniors in their rooms by removing their door handles, Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) has found in its recently released report.

The RHRA published its findings from its Feb. 4 inspection of White Cliffe Terrace Retirement Residence in Courtice, Ont. Their inspection found the home “failed to comply with certain sections of the Retirement Homes Act related to protection against abuse and neglect of residents, as well as confinement.”

The RHRA report said there was evidence “the operator removed door handles to confine residents whose plans of care did not include any safety measures.”

The RHRA said they launched their investigation after an anonymous whistleblower notified them.

Last month CTV News Toronto and CP24 obtained a copy of a letter from Verve Senior Living, which runs the retirement home, telling families that “a small” number of door handles were removed.

“It was a violation of our protocols and practices,” said David Bird, president and CEO of Verve Senior Living, wrote in the letter dated Feb. 10. “As soon as we became aware of the incident, all resident’s door handles were immediately reinstalled.”

The general manager was immediately placed on leave.

Durham police said they were investigating the removal of door handles after a complaint.

In addition, the RHRA report said the operator also “knowingly provided false or misleading information to the Inspector.”

The RHRA said they are determining their next steps, including possible enforcement action.