A retirement residence in Kingston’s east end is falling under further scrutiny as friends of residents allege the facility is no longer consistently providing and serving meals.
Fairfield Manor East was under fire watch by Kingston Fire and Rescue on Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, the same day Fairfield Manor West was ordered vacated by the Fire Marshall after a failed inspection on Friday, Aug. 31. Both retirement facilities are owned by Q & Sons Management Inc.
Since then, friends of residents at Fairfield East have come forward with accounts of reduced and missing services at the facility, which has faced staffing shortages over the past months over allegations of unpaid wages. Joan McKibbin, who visits her 100-year-old friend at the facility regularly, said the lack of staffing has led to missed meals and even a lone staff member on duty to care for the 24 residents currently in the building.
“On Saturday, September 1, I arrived at Fairfield Manor East to find that no kitchen staff were on duty,” McKibbin said in an email to The Kingstonist, noting that, because it was time for lunch service, a “caring and generous resident” had ordered and paid for Kentucky Fried Chicken for the two dozen residents.
“As I was being told this, residents began coming to the dining area and sitting down for dinner, but no dinner was available. The same resident and several very concerned family members bought, paid for, delivered, and served pizza to the residents for their evening meal.”
That was the same night only one staff member was on duty, according to McKibbin. While multiple Kingston Fire and Rescue personnel were on site due to the fire watch, those personnel are not able to assist with the care and feeding of the residents, who pay over $3,000 per month, according to McKibbin.
McKibbin called the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA), and was redirected to an after-hours emergency answering service, and told her complaint would be looked into on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
“The RHRA staffer could not be persuaded that 24 people could not wait for three days to be fed. It is an embarrassment to the RHRA to have an emergency protocol in place that is so ludicrously deficient,” McKibbin said.
“Apparently East Local Health Integrated Network (LHIN) is responsible for emergency staffing requirements, but this did not happen on Saturday at Fairfield Manor East.”
The following morning at 7 a.m., McKibbin called Fairfield Manor East and said she was informed that kitchen staff were present and that all daily meals were served, and she did not go into the facility. On Monday, Sept. 3, McKibbin called the facility again at 7 a.m., and was told that kitchen staff were present.
“However, when I arrived there at 2 p.m., I was told that the kitchen staff had left after breakfast because they hadn’t been paid. I was also told that the same caring and generous resident had ordered and paid for pizza for all 24 residents in the home,” McKibbin recalled.
McKibbin said she also told that the caretaker’s son had ordered Chinese food for dinner for all of the residents and would deliver it at 5 p.m.
According to McKibbin, Fairfield Manor owner, Muhammad Quazi, arrived at the East location at some point that afternoon, following the vacating of the West location. McKibbin said she found Quazi and told him that he was obliged to feed the residents in building.
“Mr. Quazi said that he was feeding them. When I pointed out that in fact a resident and some family members had paid for lunch and dinner on both Saturday and Monday, Mr. Quazi said that he would refund the money,” McKibbin said. She then presented Quazi with “itemized receipts for three of the four meals she, residents and residents’ family members had provided, which totalled $507, according to McKibbin, who said she was later informed Quazi paid the bills in cash. She does not know who paid for the Chinese food the residents were served that night for dinner.
“Admittedly, this is just four meals which have not been served to residents, but it nevertheless amounts to a failure to provide the necessities of life and to provide the services which the residents have paid for in their rent,” McKibbin expressed.
“In addition, residents should not be living on take-out food when they have dietary and health concerns that need to be observed. Another major concern is that residents are in a very changed environment with minimal staff, uniformed fire officials, and straitened circumstances which they find alien and somewhat alarming.”
McKibbin applauded the efforts of the staff at Fairfield Manor East, and said the staff have remained caring and committed despite having allegedly received paycheques resulting in non-sufficient funds. She also expressed gratitude towards the Kingston Fire and Rescue workers who’ve been at the facility.
“[They did the most outstanding job of playing bingo and cards with the residents,” she said.
“They were wonderful and we appreciate their efforts to make the residents less fearful and apprehensive.”
McKibbin said today, Tuesday, Sept. 4, that no breakfast was served at Fairfield Manor East, but that the chef from the West Fairfield location arrived there mid-morning in order to prepare lunch. She said she was informed that the East LHIN and City Council had an emergency meeting this morning, but that she has yet to hear of any outcome.
Kingstonist contacted Quazi, but he refused to answer any questions.
“At the moment we do not want to talk to any people as the case is in the appeal and we are not allowed to talk to anyone,” he said, apparently referring to an appeal of the court order to refrain from neglecting residents at Fairfield Manor East issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in early June of this year. When asked if he could explain what case he was referring to, Quazi hung up.
For McKibbin, it’s the residents of Fairfield Manor East who have struck her most deeply during her dealings with the lack of proper services at the facility.
“The residents… have been patient and uncomplaining in the face of a very strange and confusing set of circumstances,” McKibbin said.
“Their grace and decency serves as an example to those who treat others so badly.”