MARKHAM, Ontario, June 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Board of Directors and management of Sienna Senior Living Inc. (“Sienna” or the “Company”) (TSX: SIA) today issued the following statement.
The information coming out about long-term care residences across our organization, some of which was detailed in the report of the Canadian Armed Forces (“CAF”), has shaken our team here at Sienna, most of whom go to work every day to provide compassionate, necessary frontline care for our residents. It is no secret that the challenges long-term care residences have been facing in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic have been extraordinary and have brought to light the many short-comings that exist in our sector.
While disturbing, the CAF report was written during the peak of a crisis situation. It does not reflect the current reality at our Altamont Care Community (“Altamont”) or other Sienna residences. The CAF will be providing an updated assessment before they depart Altamont in mid-June.
Like all Canadians, we seek answers to the challenges we are facing. We are always looking to improve our delivery of care and in that spirit, today we are announcing a series of sweeping steps with respect to Sienna as a whole:
- Immediate investigation: We have hired Paul Boniferro, former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario, to conduct an immediate, company-wide review into the policies, practices and culture at Sienna. This review will help us identify how best to ensure that our expectations of a respectful, safe and inclusive environment are met at every residence, at all hours of the day.
- Additional health-care expertise: We have begun a search to hire a senior health and long-term care expert to act as senior advisor to our management and Board of Directors and to provide additional executive capacity to push forward with these new initiatives and address current challenges.
- Frontline re-education: We are immediately introducing enhanced frontline education protocols focused on quality and safety to ensure all team members understand and provide the quality of care our residents deserve. While Sienna residences have ample access to personal protective equipment (PPE), this will include re-education sessions focused on PPE.
- Zero tolerance policy and sensitivity training: We are reinforcing our zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behaviour and conducting sensitivity training with frontline staff that will include a special lens to address the extenuating circumstances our residences are facing.
- Increase communications: We are increasing our communications with our residents and their families, including having already started holding videoconference town hall meetings across our network of residences that will continue so that we can hear directly from residents and their loved ones. We are also prioritizing regular virtual visits between residents and their loved ones.
- Accelerating staffing, recruiting and retention efforts: While hiring and recruiting has been a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sienna is accelerating aggressive recruitment efforts. To further enhance quality and frequency of communication with families, we will also be allocating additional resources to this important work.
Sienna has established a special committee that is overseeing all the initiatives listed above. We are committed to delivering full and transparent reporting of our progress, including in our communications with our residents and their loved ones and via regular postings on our website.
Further, as part of the investigation led by Mr. Boniferro, any residences that raise red flags will be identified and addressed. Recently, the Sienna leadership team was made aware, by a whistleblower, of very serious and disturbing allegations of actions within our Camilla Care Community. We have dedicated resources to investigate the situation and will immediately take action should the allegations prove true.
Our people – residents, families and staff – are our first priority and we are working to get to the bottom of this. Among the actions we have taken with respect to our Camilla Care Community are the following:
- All team members who are the subject of the complaints have been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigations into these allegations.
- We self-reported the allegations to the Ministry of Long-Term Care and to the Peel Regional Police.
- We voluntarily entered into an agreement with our hospital partner, Trillium Health Partners, to have them temporarily assume management of the residence and have committed to working cooperatively with them.
- We worked with Trillium Health Partners to retain an external third-party investigator to review these allegations. This investigation is underway.
We believe that the measures we have announced today will ensure that we are able to quickly identify problems, make the situation better for our people and do what we want to do best – provide quality of care for our residents.
About Sienna Senior Living
Sienna Senior Living Inc. (TSX:SIA) offers a full range of seniors’ living options, including independent living, assisted living, long-term care, and specialized programs and services. Sienna’s approximately 12,000 employees are passionate about helping residents live fully every day, and were the driving force behind Sienna being named one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures. For more information, please visit www.siennaliving.ca.
Certain of the statements contained in this news release are forward-looking statements and are provided for the purpose of presenting information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. These statements generally use forward-looking words, such as “anticipate,” “continue,” “could,” “expect,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “believe,” “goals” or other similar words and include, without limitation, statements with respect to the impact of COVID-19 and measures taken to mitigate the impact. These statements are subject to significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements and, accordingly, should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not such results will be achieved. The forward-looking statements in this news release are based on information currently available and what management currently believes are reasonable assumptions. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements except as may be required by applicable law.
For further information, please contact:
Chief Financial Officer & Chief Investment Officer