Elderly and disabled residents at London’s McCormick Home are living with a “significant risk” to their health and safety because the long-term care facility refuses to install air conditioners in bedrooms.
“The non-compliance has impacted all residents of the home and has been for some time, given the very hot weather the province has experienced generally this summer, including the London area,” an inspector with the ministry of long-term care wrote in a report, adding that the “severity of non-compliance is high.”
“Communications with (McCormick) have established that the licensee intends to take no further steps to have all resident bedrooms in the long-term care home served by air conditioning.”
The McCormick Home maintains that its tempered air system which cools bedrooms is good enough, though the province’s inspectors disagree.
The home was ordered to pay $1,100 for refusing to install air conditioners, which all Ontario long-term care homes were required to by June 22, 2022.
The ministry says nearly every outstanding home has purchased air conditioning equipment and provided the ministry with receipts. McCormick is one of only two long-term care homes in the province that have been fined for not working with the ministry to put in the cooling system.
Quality of life ‘top priority’
“Our residents’ quality of life is our top priority, and we work diligently every day to ensure their comfort, safety and wellbeing,” a spokesperson told CBC News in a statement.
The McCormick Home, located at Kains Road and Oxford Street West, has 160 beds. Administrators say bedrooms have tempered air systems with cooling capacity and all common areas are air conditioned.
“We believe that this system offers the better solution for keeping residents comfortable and safe and has allowed us to maintain comfortable temperatures for residents during hotter periods of the year,” the home’s spokesperson told CBC News in July. “We monitor temperatures in resident bedrooms and common areas on all floors three times per day, as well as monitor the seven-day forecasts.”
But that’s not good enough for the province, which passed legislation last year that homes install air conditioning in all resident rooms by June 22.
“By not having all resident bedrooms served by air conditioning, the licensee has not ensured that it has met the safety and comfort of residents to adequately protect them from periods of hot weather and the negative affects of such weather,” the inspector wrote in the McCormick non-compliance report, dated Aug. 19.
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“Despite multiple direct communication with the licensee reminding it of the requirement and how its current cooling arrangement does not ensure compliance, the licensee has not taken any steps to comply with the requirements as of June 22, 2022 … and does not intend to do so.”
Tempered air systems add cooler temperature air into a heated air stream to regulate temperature. Air conditioners remove heat and humidity from the air to regulate temperature.
The government also fined Vision Nursing Home in Sarnia, Ont., which it says has refused to install air conditioning and has no plans in place to do so