A lawsuit against a long-term care provider hopes to spark a change in the way elderly people are treated.

Ontario based Revera Inc. owns and operates apartments, assisted living and long-term care facilities.

Lawyers working for families said there are 80 claims in Canada. Each family seeks about $1.75 million in damages.

Some of the allegations include: malnutrition, failure of staff to comply with doctors’ orders, fractures and premature death.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

Manitoba families involved in suit

Five of the families who filed claims are in Manitoba. Court documents show they were cared for in three different facilities.

Kelly Thibodeau alleges that her mother, Marlene Greenwood, wasn’t properly cared for in the time she spent at Charleswood Long Term Care Home.

During the nearly three years Greenwood was at the facility, Thibodeau said the family started meeting with administrators to address issues and documenting some of their concerns.

"Her hands were dirty, her wheelchair was dirty. We would show up and she would have pieces of sandwiches crusted in her wheelchair, she would be dirty. Not clean and not well kept,” Thibodeau said in an interview with CTV News Monday.

She said after her mom died, the family learned she had scabies on and off for about two years.

Thibodeau said she knew her mom was dealing with multiple health problems, but had trouble coming to terms with the circumstances around her death partly because of her scabies.

"Scabies is rarely a cause of death, but certainly my mom was writhing and screaming like a child for the last 30 hours of her life.”

Lawyers working with families said the allegations are unprecedented.

“You've never seen anything on this mass, and we've done it this way because we want to make noise. We want people to be aware of this, we want this to be a hot button issue, to get involved,” said lawyer Melissa Miller with Howie Sacks & Henry LLP.

Employees provide ‘compassionate, high quality care’: Revera

"Revera is very proud of our employees and of the compassionate, high quality care that they provide. Until such time as we are served and have an opportunity to review relevant documents, it is impossible to comment further," said corporate affairs senior manager Larry Roberts in a statement to CTV News.

Thibodeau hopes the legal action brings changes, and helps other families.

"It's difficult to put a loved in a nursing home to begin with, and you go into these places and they smell like urine and there's nothing like home about them," she said.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is not listed in the lawsuit.

It says it provides about $60 million a year in funding to Revera-operated facilities.

The WRHA said it’s aware of the allegations, and while it’s not involved, it will not comment on matters pending before the courts.

"The WRHA takes all client and family concerns seriously, and we ensure that any issues or concerns presented are reviewed and appropriate follow up occurs with the goal to continue to improve and enhance overall care and services to individuals served," it said.

Lawyers representing families said the lawsuit is in the early stages, they are still gathering evidence and the entire process could take five to seven years.