Inquiry: Wettlaufer went undetected in home-care settings, too – The London Free Press
ST. THOMAS − Already the provincial inquiry into long-term care has found how easy it was for murderer Elizabeth Wettlaufer to get away with her crimes in nursing homes.
Wednesday, there was a shift in the inquiry to a focus on home care – and it appears Wettlaufer had the same ease to kill or injure vulnerable people in their homes as she had in a more institutional setting.
Highlights in an affidavit from Karen Mitchell, a registered nurse and care co-ordinator from the Southwest Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), relayed to Commissioner Justice Eileen Gillese, described how Beverly Bertram, the last victim before Wettlaufer confessed to police, was assigned to Wettlaufer through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) after a lengthy stay in hospital.
Mitchell would assess patients’ needs once they made contact with the CCAC. She was assigned to assess Bertram.
By then, Wettlaufer was working for Saint Elizabeth Health Care, as a home care nurse. And, by then, she had murdered eight people in nursing homes where she had worked by injecting them with overdoses of insulin – seven at Caressant Care in Woodstock and one at Meadow Park in London.
Wettlaufer was assigned to look after Bertram after she had an extended hospital stay. Her job was wound care, and administering medication through IV.
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Bertram had been receiving home care before her hospital stay. Mitchell said in the affidavit that the procedure is to re-assess a patient if they’ve been in the hospital for more than 14 days and structure a new referral.
On Aug. 20, 2016, Wettlaufer was assigned to wound care, looking after Bertram’s catheter and administering antibiotics through an intravenous line.
Wettlaufer confessed later that she stole insulin from another home care patient and on Aug. 21, 2016, used it to try to murder Bertram.
Mitchell said in her affidavit that she visited Bertram at her home in September 2016 and “didn’t see anything to cause concern” and there were “no red flags” in Bertram’s file.
The CCAC hadn’t received any complaints about Saint Elizabeth’s care. The first Mitchell heard about the attempted murder of Bertram was after Wettlaufer’s confession to the police.
Just as the inquiry has done a deep dive into the policies and regulations in long-term care homes, it is focusing now on the same details surrounding home care.
Donna Ladouceur, who was the co-chief executive officer of the Southwest LHIN, has begun her testimony to discuss procedures built into the home care system.
The inquiry was called last summer following the stunning confessions by Wettlaufer, 51, a Woodstock nurse who pleaded guilty to eight first-degree murders, four attempted murders and two aggravated assaults. Bertram was one of the victims who survived Wettlaufer’s attack.
Even though she had been fired twice and struggled with mental health and drug addiction, Wettlaufer continued to find work. Between 2007 and 2016, she worked as a registered nurse both in nursing homes and in home care.
She first confessed to the psychiatrist and then to the police after leaving her job and checking herself in for mental health care in Toronto in the fall of 2016. She is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
The inquiry is expected to continue all week before taking a break until September.