Woodstock site of Elizabeth Wettlaufer murders cleared to admit new residents
The Woodstock long-term care home where killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer murdered seven of her eight elderly victims by overdosing them with insulin has been cleared to admit new residents.
An order banning admissions at Caressant Care nursing home was lifted late last week by Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, 10 months after it imposed the ban.
With about one-quarter of its beds vacant, despite a waiting list for admissions, the move will be welcomed by regional health officials, a spokesperson for Caressant Care suggested.
“I know the Local Integrated Health Network (LIHN) is excited about (the ban being lifted), because there’s people on a wait list and (now) they can be placed and be where they need to be,” Lee Griffi said.
The ministry had ordered admissions to the home halted Jan. 26, 2017, for numerous infractions under Ontario’s long-term care law, including more than 40 medication “incidents.”
New admissions started Monday.
Griffi wasn’t specific about the changes made at the home to meet provincial standards.
“It’s been a long haul. Obviously there was a lot of work to do,” he said. “Head office staff, managers at the home and frontline staff have all been a big part of this day coming.”
The 163-bed facility has 43 beds vacant.
Caressant Care will work closely with the placement team at the South West LHIN, the regional agency responsible for allocating health care dollars, to ensure a smooth admission process, he said.
“We will be utilizing every available resource to make sure our new residents have a seamless transition into their new home.”
Wettlaufer, 50, pleaded guilty last spring to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Along with the seven people murdered at the Woodstock home, four others there survived Wettlaufer’s attempts.
In September 2016, Wettlaufer admitted to the eight murders, which included one man at the Meadow Park nursing home in London, after she checked herself into a Toronto mental health facility.
She was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years and became the worst serial killer in Canadian health care history.
She killed the five women and three men between 2007 and 2014 with insulin she stole from her employers.
Many of her victims suffered from various illnesses, dementia or Alzheimer’s. The insulin triggered a long painful descent to death, often long after Wettlaufer had finished her nursing shifts.
A public commission of inquiry into the safety and security of residents in Ontario’s long-term care system, triggered by Wettlaufer’s murder spree, was called in the fallout of the criminal case and began its preliminary work in October.
The commission’s next phase — hearings to determine who will have standing, or the legal ability to take part — are scheduled next week in St. Thomas, with the formal inquiry hearings expected to begin next May.
Ontario’s long-term care system is the nation’s largest and most complex, with more than 70,000 residents in more than 600 care homes.