Author Topic: Feds order 'thorough' audit of Sunnybrook Veterans Centre  (Read 14545 times)

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Sunnybrook Veterans Centre to face additional review
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 12:47:18 PM »
Sunnybrook Veterans Centre to face additional review

The Canadian Press
Posted: Jan 20, 2013 10:30 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2013 12:01 PM ET

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/20/toronto-sunnybrook-veterans-care-review.html

In an effort to come to grips with a series of complaints about its quality of care and how those complaints are dealt with, the country's largest veterans facility has called in an outside expert to look at the situation.

The review of the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre this week comes in addition to an official audit by the federal government that is currently underway.

The new audit will focus on those beds funded by Ontario's Ministry of Health — a cost of about $29.2 million a year — but has disavowed any responsibility for oversight of the centre.

The review, which begins this week, is being carried out by Karima Velji. The senior executive at Baycrest, a prominent research hospital focused on the elderly, is also an assistant nursing professor at the University of Toronto.

"We would like you to focus on quality of care in the provincially funded chronic-care beds, with an in-depth focus on the processes used to resolve complaints," Sunnybrook's executive vice-president Malcolm Moffat said in a letter to Velji.

In a series of articles in recent months, The Canadian Press highlighted concerns raised by relatives and attendants about what they see as serious deficiencies in the basic care of the most frail of the 500 veterans at the centre.

Complaints include delayed feedings, rough handling, residents left languishing in hallways or bed, unsanitary conditions and unexplained injuries. Relatives said Sunnybrook was dismissive of, or hostile to, their efforts to raise concerns.

The articles also identified a lack of government oversight of the facility, which one senior provincial official called a federal-provincial "grey area."

Sunnybrook has steadfastly maintained its care is as good as, or better, than comparable facilities. It cites surveys showing industry-leading levels of patient and relative satisfaction and top scores on voluntary care reviews.

In response to the publicized complaints, Steven Blaney, minister of veterans affairs, ordered the first thorough audit of the facility in more than seven years. Results are expected in the near future.

"I'm not certain that (Veterans Affairs Canada) felt they have complete jurisdiction over all of the beds," said Sunnybrook spokesman Craig DuHamel.

"So, we felt that inviting another external reviewer in to focus solely on those beds that are funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care ... would help round (the audit) out a little bit more."'
Province will have opportunity to respond

DuHamel said a copy of Velji's findings will be forwarded to a senior Ontario bureaucrat for any feedback the province might want to provide.

"We will review those findings and will look to the hospital to see what actions they may take as a result," said Ontario Health Ministry spokesman Dave Jensen.

One relative, Debra Stuart, said she had accepted invitations to meet Velji or attend a focus group despite her concern Sunnybrook was orchestrating the review.

"The families are skeptical about the objectivity and transparency," Stuart said.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy and a member of a newly minted external advisory group on Sunnybrook set up by Veterans Affairs and chaired by the veterans ombudsman, said he, too, had his doubts.

"Without an independent quality of care audit launched by the province to ensure accountability over the 310 chronic care beds they're responsible for, justice will not be served," Blais said.

The problem, he said, is what he called a lack of accountability and oversight at the provincial level.

"If the federal government has downloaded all these veterans-based hospitals ... there also is a moral obligation that has been downloaded to the provinces as well," Blais said.

"I identify it as a matter of required legislation."

Blaney's spokesman, Niklaus Schwenker, said the government welcomed the new review.

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Sunnybrook no longer Sunny for our Veterans
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 02:56:16 PM »
Sunnybrook no longer Sunny for our Veterans

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Blog-Article/b/23500/Sunnybrook-no-longer-Sunny-for-our-Veterans



My Grandfather George Rae was a Gordon Highlander and served in France in WW 1.

He passed away peacefully many years ago, in Sunnybrook Hospital. That old Canadian Military hospital had a wonderful reputation, and excellent record of care for Veterans.

I visited my Grand dad  many times in that hospital and never heard a complaint. It is sad to say that now as a private/ provincial long term care centre there has been a multitude of complaints.

Everything from abuse to hygiene concerns. The federal ministry for Veterans affairs should be operating these facilities, not people that do not care about our Veterans nor their welfare.

I hope that this new study provides answers. In order that our Veterans may enjoy the twilight of their lives.  Both in comfort,  and respect as well as first class services medical and otherwise.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2013/01/20/toronto-sunnybrook-veterans-care-review.html

Mike Blais

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Re: Feds order 'thorough' audit of Sunnybrook Veterans Centre
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2013, 10:46:49 AM »
Military Blog Site - with Robby McRobb

Sunnybrook no longer Sunny for our Veterans

Support our Troops

My Grandfather George Rae was a Gordon Highlander and served in France in WW 1.

He passed away peacefully many years ago, in Sunnybrook Hospital. That old Canadian Military hospital had a wonderful reputation, and excellent record of care for Veterans.

 I visited my Grand dad  many times in that hospital and never heard a complaint. It is sad to say that now as a private/ provincial long term care centre there has been a multitude of complaints.

 Everything from abuse to hygiene concerns. The federal ministry for Veterans affairs should be operating these facilities, not people that do not care about our Veterans nor their welfare.

 I hope that this new study provides answers. In order that our Veterans may enjoy the twilight of their lives.  Both in comfort,  and respect as well as first class services medical and otherwise.

Mike Blais

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Help....
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2013, 08:52:03 PM »
Urgent. Please read the email below.

Many families have raised concerns about the deficit of staff at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre (SVC) on my father's floor, K3C, and the shortfall of feeding assistance for the incapacitated residents, many of whom can no longer feed themselves. I visit my father a minimum of five times a week and spend extended amounts of time with him. I have regularly fed my father meals since he became a resident in April 2011.     

Last night, I was told by two nurses on my father's floor that I am no longer allowed to feed my father. 

When I arrived at 5:45 pm, I went to the dining room where my father’s part-time companion was feeding my father dinner. We wheeled my father into the quiet lounge down the hall and brought his tray with the remainder of his food so I could continue feeding him after his companion left at 6:00 pm. Suddenly, two nurses converged on me and informed me, in a hostile manner, that I am no longer allowed to feed my father at any time on any week day, or after his companion leaves at 6:00 pm. They further stated that at 6:00 pm my father’s food tray will  immediately be taken away. The nurses said NO MORE FOOD will be made available to my father thereafter, regardless of how little my father has eaten. They said all the staff on my father's floor have been notified and that this will be enforced. 

How can a hospital stop a daughter from feeding her own father? How can they restrict his eating to a limited period of time? This seems particularly unconscionable in view of my father's dementia and related dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

The hospital has now imposed a severe food restriction on my father, and enacted aggressive efforts to prevent me from feeding him. 

In the weeks leading up to this, my request that my father be offered alternative food choices from the available menu was declined. I was subsequently evicted from the dining room and told that, “No family is allowed in the dining room during meal time.” 

This is not true as relatives often visit and feed their family members in the dining room on K Wing. In fact, the night before, the granddaughter of a resident sat with her grandfather while he was having dinner in the dining room. She even brought her little black dog to sit with them.

This dining room "family ban policy" was evidently concocted to keep me out and prevent me from witnessing whether or not my father was provided the opportunity, and the time he needs, to be fed his entire meal.

It is a sad fact that my father now requires approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to consume his meals. After the first hour, with patience, compassion and gentle encouragement, his regular companion and I find that he willingly continues to eat varying amounts of food, albeit slowly. Often, after I finish feeding him dinner, he is alert, and will converse, watch television, make jokes, interact with staff, other residents and caregivers, and even sing, which I have recorded on numerous occasions.   

As a result of the inhumane time limitations and outrageous feeding restrictions now being imposed on my father, I fear he may very well soon face the serious consequences of malnutrition. The actions taken by Sunnybrook Veterans Centre are undeniably not in the best interest of my frail 90-year old father. I feel he is being put at immediate risk of serious harm. 

Please share this message with anyone you believe might be able to help my Dad.   

Debra Stuart l 416.720.0271 l debra.stuart@rogers.com

Sylvain Chartrand CD ResF

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Daughter of Vet at SUNNYBROOK no longer allowed to feed father
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2013, 08:54:54 PM »
Many families have raised concerns about the deficit of staff at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre (SVC) on my father's floor, K3C, and the shortfall of feeding assistance for the incapacitated residents, many of whom can no longer feed themselves. I visit my father a minimum of five times a week and spend extended amounts of time with him. I have regularly fed my father meals since he became a resident in April 2011.

Last night, I was told by two nurses on my father's floor that I am no longer allowed to feed my father.

When I arrived at 5:45 pm, I went to the dining room where my father’s part-time companion was feeding my father dinner. We wheeled my father into the quiet lounge down the hall and brought his tray with the remainder of his food so I could continue feeding him after his companion left at 6:00 pm. Suddenly, two nurses converged on me and informed me, in a hostile manner, that I am no longer allowed to feed my father at any time on any week day, or after his companion leaves at 6:00 pm. They further stated that at 6:00 pm my father’s food tray will immediately be taken away. The nurses said NO MORE FOOD will be made available to my father thereafter, regardless of how little my father has eaten. They said all the staff on my father's floor have been notified and that this will be enforced.

How can a hospital stop a daughter from feeding her own father? How can they restrict his eating to a limited period of time? This seems particularly unconscionable in view of my father's dementia and related dysphagia (difficulty swallowing).

The hospital has now imposed a severe food restriction on my father, and enacted aggressive efforts to prevent me from feeding him.

In the weeks leading up to this, my request that my father be offered alternative food choices from the available menu was declined. I was subsequently evicted from the dining room and told that, “No family is allowed in the dining room during meal time.”

This is not true as relatives often visit and feed their family members in the dining room on K Wing. In fact, the night before, the granddaughter of a resident sat with her grandfather while he was having dinner in the dining room. She even brought her little black dog to sit with them.

This dining room "family ban policy" was evidently concocted to keep me out and prevent me from witnessing whether or not my father was provided the opportunity, and the time he needs, to be fed his entire meal.

It is a sad fact that my father now requires approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours to consume his meals. After the first hour, with patience, compassion and gentle encouragement, his regular companion and I find that he willingly continues to eat varying amounts of food, albeit slowly. Often, after I finish feeding him dinner, he is alert, and will converse, watch television, make jokes, interact with staff, other residents and caregivers, and even sing, which I have recorded on numerous occasions.

As a result of the inhumane time limitations and outrageous feeding restrictions now being imposed on my father, I fear he may very well soon face the serious consequences of malnutrition. The actions taken by Sunnybrook Veterans Centre are undeniably not in the best interest of my frail 90-year old father. I feel he is being put at immediate risk of serious harm.

Please share this message with anyone you believe might be able to help my Dad.

Debra Stuart l 416.720.0271 l debra.stuart@rogers.com

Sylvain Chartrand CD ResF

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Sunnybrook - New Family Complaint (Jacqueline Brock)
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2013, 09:10:37 AM »
Sunnybrook - New Family Complaint

Posted with permission of the family.

January 23, 2013

Mr. Michael L. Blais, CD
President and Founder Canadians Veterans Advocacy
6681 Harper Drive Niagara Falls, Ontario L2E 7K6

Dear Sir:

Re: Veterans Care at Sunnvbrook

It was with great concern and sad memories that I read the article in the Toronto Star on December 31, 2012 regarding Jackie Storrison being escorted out of the Sunnybrook Vets'Centre. Toronto Star, December 31, 2012, page A4, Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press.

Our family had gone through the same things with our Dad who was in K- Wing from September 2000 until his death in November 2007. Our Dad was a member of the Royal Regiment of Canada and had been taken a Prisoner of War at Dieppe. Certainly, for all that these veterans did for Canada they deserved to be treated with dignity and respect in their final years. We hardly ever saw any respect to these veterans from the employees except when dignitaries were present and then they were fussing all over the residents.

When our Dad first entered the veteran's facility we were assured that it would be " his home away from home"! Our home was never like this. From day one we were told he would have to wear diapers as they didn't have time to be taking every resident to the washroom. What a loss of dignity to a man who was always clean and neatly dressed. It seemed who ever dressed him in the morning would just grab whatever was closest and put him in it whether it was clean or not or matched, didn't bother to help him shave, wash or clean his teeth. Many times when we would go in at lunch time he was still in bed, and were told he was having a lazy day or he didn't want to get up! So of course he was not washed or dressed and often his breakfast was sitting there not touched as he needed assistance to eat. A couple of nurses treated him with respect and made sure he looked and neat, clean and tidy and ate but they were in the minority.

My Dad always had semi-private health coverage but during the whole seven years he was in the veteran's centre there was never a semi-private room for him, which made in difficult for our Mum who visited him nearly every day as she had to sit in a hard chair and we weren't allowed to bring in a comfortable chair for her from home as they said there wasn't room for it, yet we were told when we were making arrangements for Dad to go into Sunnybrook that we could bring a comfortable chair from home for her. The man in the bed across from my Dad had a whole computer station set up with a large desk and swivel chair and comfortable chairs for his visitors.

We made sure that some family member went in EVERY DAY to ensure that he ate his lunch and dinner. The worst time was during the SARS outbreak when they didn't always allow visitors so we didn't know if he was okay as he was unable to use a phone.

Many times my Dad would have unexplained bruises or cuts and on one occasion a broken ankle that nobody knew how it had happened, he couldn't get out of his wheelchair so "Who did it? Nobody knew, in fact it was broken for two days before it was diagnosed, it was our sister who noticed it and mentioned it to a nurse.

We were afraid to complain while he was a resident as we didn't want retribution to be taken out on our Dad because of our complaints, and it was our mother's wish not to complain, sadly our Mum passed away in May 2011,

The patient manager at the time our Dad was there was a very bossy and unfriendly person and had her favorites in the quad and these were the ones that got to go on all the outside trips and outings. Many times we put our Dad's name down for a trip and she would cross it out and tell us he wouldn't enjoy it. His last trip would have been to the CNE in August which as a Veteran he was entitled to attend and had attended every year since returning overseas after the war. We put our Dad's name down to attend but the Patient Care Manager made the recreational therapist tell my sister that they thought my Dad was too frail to attend, but if we would like to take him on our own, we could. We were unable to arrange transport for him at this short notice therefore he was unable to attend what would have been his last chance to attend before dying in November 2007.

We would always take our Dad home on holidays and special occasions by hiring a taxi that was able to take a large wheelchair which our Dad used. We were unable to get him out of the wheelchair so it was necessary for us to hire transport as we were unable to put him in a ordinary car to take him home. Whenever we took Dad back to Sunnybrook after a day out we would wait until we could let a nurse know we had returned before we would leave. Sometimes we would have to wait up to a hour or more until we would see a nurse or aide on the quad. We could have gone in and done anything to the patients and nobody would know who did it! On one occasion we came back with my Dad about 8:00 p.m. and there was nobody around. The man in the bed across from our Dad was crying and moaning as he was hooked to a catheter and the bag was full and backing up and he must have been in pain. We pushed the buzzer for over 10 minutes and my husband went out to look for a nurse or aide and nobody was around. Finally, after walking around for over 45 minutes he finally went to another quad and got somebody to come and assist the poor man and then you should have seen all the nurses from his quad get moving, it seemed they were all on dinner, at the same time!!! What if somebody was having a heart attack and pressing the buzzer and nobody came????

We were also told if we were concerned with our Dad's care we could hire a companion for him. Why should we have to hire a companion to make sure that the care we were paying for was being given. That is like paying twice for the same thing and makes you think that the authorities know that the proper care is not being given.

While I know it is too late to help my Dad and many other the residents who have passed away, I think something has to be done to resolve the situation at Sunnybrook Veterans' Centre. It is usually the last place a lot of veterans go to live and they deserve to be respected and cared for with dignity and the staff looking after them should realize if it wasn't for the Veterans they wouldn't be living in such a free country.

Yours truly,

Jacqueline Brock for the Brooks Family

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Veteran Sandy Brace Comments to VAC on SunnyBrook
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2013, 06:07:29 PM »
From: Sandy Brace [mailto:spud_soldier@hotmail.com]
Sent: January-29-13 12:34 PM
To: letters@theguardian.pe.ca; newsroom@journalpioneer.com; editor@peicanada.com
Cc: Barbe TORONTO; blaney.s@parl.gc.ca; harper.s@parl.gc.ca; hawn.l@parl.gc.ca; malpeque.ndp@gmail.com; keith.hillier@vac-acc.gc.ca; rosemartland@gmail.com; steven.blaney@vac-acc.gc.ca; sean.casey@parl.gc.ca; stoffp0@parl.gc.ca
Subject: Treatment of Veterans
 
Are Canadians willing to accept abuse of our veterans? During the past few months, there have been shocking reports of abuse and disrespect of Canada’s veterans at Sunnybrook Hospital in Ontario. This shameful mistreatment continues even as "steps" to address the issue are supposedly taking place. The veteran residents of this facility are WW2 and Korean survivors reaching the end of their lives. Several letters from relatives of Sunnybrook residents, have exposed shocking treatment imposed on the residents and their families. The Veterans deserve the very best of care and to be treated with the utmost dignity. It is not happening and Canada needs to know about it. Maybe it is happening at other facilities across this great nation, I don’t know, but surely there must be a means to monitor their care and treatment. It seems to me that our government and it’s bureaucrats have not accepted their responsibility to look after these men and women throughout their final years. Is the closing of veteran offices across Canada, the downsizing of Veteran Affairs Canada, and now the attack on our most vulnerable veterans an indication of this "could care less" attitude?

Sandy Brace, CD
Captain (retd)
N. Rustico


attached is a copy of a letter sent today from the family of a veterann

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Two More Fammlies Speak out Against: Sunnybrook Veterans Centre
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2013, 02:25:35 PM »
Sunnybrook. Feb 1 Another family speaks out.

Attached is two more letters I have received from sisters who's father is at Sunnybrook that they have encouraged me to share.

I would note that families or veterans are welcome to speak out on there own behalf but I am very uncomfortable allowing Sunnybrook, as a vested interest, promoting their letters.

Should any family member who's father or mother is a resident as Sunnybrook, past or present, have issues they would like to discuss with me or letters they would like to address, please contact me through the CVA website. Or post direct, as long as the letters are in conformance with the Code of Conduct rules// send a letter by post with permission for me to scan and post in your name.

Sisters testimony

January 30, 2013

Mr. Michael Blais, President
Canadian Veterans’ Advocacy

Dear Michael,

Thank you for listening to my story over the phone yesterday.
I would like to note that we spoke about my 87 year-old father who is on the third floor of the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Residence.
When my father, John, arrived at Sunnybrook Veterans’ Residence on April 3, 2012, he was unable to walk but could talk.

Within a short period of time, with the help of physiotherapy and a positive atmosphere as compared to a general hospital, or home care, he was mobile in a wheelchair. He still has his genuinely caring personality and sense of humour as he always had earlier in his life. With great pleasure we saw him, once again, play the piano.

Sadly, this past Boxing Day, my father suffered a stroke.

Now he cannot speak and is paralyzed on his right side and on one side of his mouth.

The nurses now have more work to do with my father.

Consequently, we have noticed lapses in his care, such as being left in a wheelchair for how many hours?

I found my father this past Saturday night lying on his bed without his undergarments or covers and a diaper beside him which he had removed. Both of his roommates were sound asleep but one of their televisions was blaring.

My father would be mortified at the indignity if we ‘had him back’.
Having made my concerns known at a ‘families’ meeting and privately to the Manager, Patient Care and Safety, I will be interested to see what happens.

Regards,
MQ

January 30, 2013

Mr. Michael Blais,
President, Canadian Veterans’ Advocacy

Dear Michael,

I am writing to you about the noticeable difference for the worse, on the third floor of the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Residence; my Dad’s floor.

My 87-year-old Dad had a stroke on December 26, 2012. Before that, he had made great progress. He went from zipping around in his wheelchair to now being dependent on the nurses for all his needs. He is paralyzed on his right side and his mouth droops on one side.

There have been times that I was uneasy about his handling since he is now a stroke patient and has dementia. I understand that there is a certain way to handle paralyzed limbs in a stroke victim.
As well, recently, the woman we have hired to be my Dad’s companion was ‘reprimanded’ by the nurse on duty for an imagined wrongdoing!

The Manager of Patient Care and Safety was notified the next day and is looking into this awful occurrence.

Well, we shall see the outcome, Michael!

Yours truly,
SR

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AUDIT OF THE SUNNYBROOK VETERANS CENTRE March 2013
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2013, 03:40:52 PM »
[pdf]http://www.veterans.gc.ca/pdf/deptReports/2013-audit-sunnybrook/2013-audit-sunnbrook.pdf[/pdf]

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CVA Press Release – Sunnybrook Hospital – VAC audit
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2013, 04:31:18 AM »
CVA Press Release – Sunnybrook Hospital – VAC audit

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy is pleased to note that the Veterans Affairs Canada audit investigating family orientated complaints about neglect and substandard care has concluded and the recommendations will, if implemented, resolve some of these very serous issues.

”We must bear in mind that the complaints were restricted to a certain areas of the hospital where veterans, due to dementia issues, have been rendered completely dependent on the staff. Many of these complaints have been validated by Dr Veliji independent review and have been addressed within the Opportunities for Improvement section of the report.”

The Canadian Veterans Advocacy is, however, very concerned that the recommendations presented through Doctor Velji’s review or VAC audit will be ignored as the Hospital is under no obligation to implement policies the administration does not agree with or feels they cannot afford.

"Premier Wynne and the Ontario government's duty is clear, they must embrace their sacred obligation to these veterans, not ignore them under the misguided belief that the quality of their care is a federal responsibility,” declared Michael L Blais CD, president, CVA, from his home in Niagara Falls. “It is not. The VAC audit clearly defines responsibility, Ontario Health Minister Mathews was incorrect when she publicly claimed veterans at Sunnybrook is a federal responsibility, this situation occurred on her watch, she has an obligation to act responsibly.”

The CVA is encouraging the Ontario Government to, if necessary, legislate a mandate to ensure all veterans hospitals in Ontario are fully compliant of all Ontario LTC regulatory standards and that any recommendations put forth through review are implemented. We also recommend that the independent standards inherent with the Long term Care Homes Act be applied to Sunnybrook and all Ontario veterans hospitals to ensure objectivity, effective oversight and the very highest standards of care for those who have sacrifices greatly in this nation’s name.

Michael L Blais CD

Founder/President, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
6618 Harper Drive, Niagara Falls, Ont, Cda.
L2E 7K6 // 905-357-3306 // Cell 905-359-9247

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Mostly positive review of Sunnybrook veterans centre called a ‘smokescreen’

By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

http://globalnews.ca/news/395403/mostly-positive-review-of-sunnybrook-veterans-centre-called-a-smokescreen-5/

TORONTO – A review initiated by Canada’s largest veterans centre in light of several care complaints was too broadly focused to come to grips with pressing problems at the facility, a veterans activist said Wednesday.

Speaking after the release of a report into conditions at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, Mike Blais of Canadian Veterans Advocacy said he was disappointed with the review.

“They now have this glowing report on areas of the hospital that were never of concern in the first place,” Blais said.

“Any complaints have been marginalized. It’s just turned into a big smokescreen show.”

Although the report did validate some complaints, overall it declared the 500-bed centre to be a leader in the quality of care provided.

Sunnybrook CEO Dr. Barry McLellan said the report mentioned several examples of the “excellent” care.

The facility was already taking steps to implement the few recommendations in the report, McLellan said.

Last fall, several relatives stepped forward to complain about how their loved ones – the most frail of the centre’s residents – were being cared for.

Among other things, they complained about delayed and missed feedings, residents left languishing for hours in soiled diapers, dirty rooms and frequent patient moves.

Relatives were especially unhappy about how management dealt with their concerns, saying they were shut down and intimidated when they pressed issues.

In her review carried out last month at Sunnybrook’s request, Karima Velji said she found no “systemic gaps” related to care or to safety and patient-relation mechanisms.

However, the senior executive at Baycrest – a research hospital focused on the elderly – did appear to find merit in some of the complaints.

Among other things, she said Sunnybrook moves residents more often than many other facilities and urged such moves be minimized, noting the centre is “home” to the veterans.

In common with relatives’ complaints, some nurses expressed concerns to Velji about staffing levels, particularly in the afternoons and during off-hours.

“They related meal times as being amongst the busiest times on the unit and expressed a need for meal-time support,” the review states.

“Some staff members felt the access to equipment and supplies could be improved on some units. Staff related the need for more environmental cleanliness and support.”

Velji also identified damaged and strained relations between Sunnybrook and relatives of residents.

Some nurses even complained they were being spied on by the many private caregivers families feel the need to hire.

Jackie Storrison, 61, a grandmother escorted out by police in December after nurses alleged she was verbally abusive, said the whole review process had left her frustrated.

“It was initiated by Sunnybrook (and) I thought they weren’t getting the reality of the situation,” said Storrison, who is now constantly watched by security when she visits her elderly father.

“I still continue to find my father in (clothes) that are drenched.”

Among recommendations, Velji said the centre should implement “enhanced approaches” to address the needs of families from admission onwards.

“The program should consider a stronger adoption of the philosophy of ‘admitting a resident means admitting their loved ones’,” she said.

Both the federal and Ontario governments spend more than $55 million a year to fund the veterans centre.

The province, however, has washed its hands of the complaints, saying oversight is entirely Ottawa’s responsibility.

A federal audit that was done first in response to the families’ concerns has yet to be finalized.

Niklaus Schwenker, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, said Wednesday the federal government was looking forward to the “timely implementation” of the recommendations.

“Minister Blaney expects that veterans and their families receive high quality care while being treated with respect at all times,” Schwenker said.