Elizabeth Wettlaufer has become notorious for fatally poisoning nursing home residents. The 50-year-old nurse took elder abuse to the nth degree at three nursing homes in Woodstock, London and Paris, Ontario, from 2007 to 2014 by murdering eight residents. These particular nursing homes were Level 1, which means the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care considered them to be in good standing.
This ranking translates to mean that these particular homes don’t register as having a history of being noncompliant and as such don’t need to be inspected as intensely keeping in line with the Long Term Care Act in Ontario. Homes are designated Level 2 or 3 if they fall below 70 per cent in their performance analysis, and these homes are closely watched and reassessed. Eighty-five per cent of all nursing homes in Ontario are at Level 1.
Only about 60 homes provincewide are at Level 2, or 10 per cent, while 4 to 5 per cent are at high risk, or Level 3. It seems, though, that as long as most homes are in compliance with their reporting duties, they will get a Level 1 designation. There is a Level 4 ranking, but usually a home’s licence is revoked when it gets to that level.
Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the murders and was sentenced to life in prison, though she is eligible for parole in 25 years. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and four counts of attempted murder. Elder abuse happens more frequently in Ontario than many people realize. Victims’ families in these circumstances have every right to talk to an experienced lawyer regarding legal recourse for incidents of elder abuse.