CAMH STAFF WERE ABLE TO TIP OFF POLICE ON WETTLAUFER BECAUSE OF EXCEPTION TO CONFIDENTIALITY RULES

Oct 27, 2016

By Jane Brown

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More information is coming out about a tip given to police about Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s mental state from staff at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Wettlaufer is charged with murdering eight elderly residents of two southwestern Ontario long term care homes between 2007 and 2014 when she was a registered nurse.

Health care professionals are generally bound by patient confidentiality requirements, but there are exceptions.

Ontario law says doctors must contact authorities if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that a resident of a nursing or retirement home has suffered harm or is at risk of harm due to improper or incompetent treatment or care, unlawful conduct, abuse or neglect.

Reports say CAMH staff went to police after Wettlaufer shared information with them which caused them concern.

Meantime, debate continues over whether a review of government oversight of Ontario nursing homes is needed.

Wanda Morris of the Zoomers’ advocacy group CARP told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer we have to be cautious.

“There are already a number of controls in place. There’s a fair amount of regulation that impacts long term care facilities and for example, with medications, with drugs, all pills and tablets are meant to be accounted for, so I’m not sure further rules are required. We need to wait for the facts and see where the breakdown occurs,” Morris explained.

Long term care homes are already required to immediately report unexpected deaths to the ministry, which reviews every ”critical incident” to see if an inspection is warranted.

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