Frail, often elderly, and with nowhere to go

Nobody believes a hospital ward is a long-term solution for patients who have completed their acute care treatment but due to their medical frailty are unable to go home without support. The question is, where are the appropriate resources for these patients? Public home care and nursing homes have significant waits. Some nursing homes can take as long as seven years to get into.

Some hospitals are trying to push patients into retirement homes to wait until public services are made available, sometimes with threats of levying illegal and sizeable daily fees. If they do follow to a retirement home, the private costs may be prohibitive and there is no guarantee of receiving appropriate care. These are not nursing homes.

Often the frail and elderly are left with nowhere to go.

Jane Meadus says these individuals need to know their rights. A lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), Meadus says the legal clinic receives about 250 complaints per year.

Meadus spoke with Anna Maria Tremonti during this morning’s edition of CBC’s The Current. Click here to link to the audio interview.

2 responses to “Frail, often elderly, and with nowhere to go

  1. We are allowinf our Government to abandon us at a time when we need support the most. This is just not immoral it should be illegal. Maybe we need to get a coalition together and sue the government for not acting in the interest of their citizens.

  2. Fair Care Canada

    Hospitals will continue to abuse and neglect those that are vulnerable and weak because there is NO accountability. They will continue this behaviour, simply because they can. They report to no one. They do not even report to the Ministry of Health. The Hospital Administration will go to any measure, that includes bullying the patient and family, making illegal threats, and putting the frail patient at risk of death. Pressure is applied by threatening enormous charges and often delivering a bill for thousands of dollars in order to get the “bed blocker” out. That is, if you do not know your rights. Most patients and their families have not been in the situation before and have trust in what they are being told, or rather “sold”. Do not trust what you are being “sold” by the Hospital and find out what your rights are. ACE provided valuable advice and information for our family but in the end the Hospital won. We were unable to protect our Mother from their deliberate actions.

    In our case, our Mother died and we have been actively advocating for Ombudsman Oversight of Healthcare since her death. Our tragic story in dealing with the Hospital led the Global National News, covered over several segments, and was included in the Ombudsman’s 2012 Annual Report, covered by the CBC. Our family also petitioned the government and presented 5400 signatures to the Legislature demanding Hospitals and Nursing Homes finally be made accountable for the care that they provide.

    The Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, clearly states that Hospitals and Nursing Homes operate as “independent corporations” and that they (Hospitals) are ” responsible for the quality of care its patients receive. Here is her direct quote: “As we’ve mentioned…my ministry provides funding for public hospitals through Local Health Integration Networks, but the hospitals are independent corporations accountable to their own boards of directors. As set out under the Public Hospitals Act and other legislation, hospitals are responsible for their own day-to-day management…”

    Ontario is the only province in Canada that the Ombudsman has absolutely NO power to go in and investigate these publicly funded institutions. No one is watching over them. No oversight breeds abuse. Proof of that is all the complaints that are received by ACE and all of the recent scandals like EHealth and Ornge. Our precious Healthcare Dollars unaccounted for by the Liberals and our publicly funded Hospitals, acting against the law, with no repercussion.

    With the legal advice we were provided with by ACE, we were able to fight the Administration and for our Mother’s right to care. Then the Hospital did the unthinkable. It was unbelievable. The doctors that truly cared for our Mother were also in disbelief but had no power to intervene. Highly contagious and infected patients were placed next to our Mom in her semi-private room! Our Mom was “high risk” — in hospital 8 months, in and out of heart-failure, and down to 53 pounds. (Regulated Nursing Homes had turned her down because they could not care for her) We knew our Mother had to remain in the Hospital because there was no alternative. The Hospital didn’t care. They just wanted her out and would go to any length to accomplish that and they did.

    The deliberate actions of the Toronto General Hospital in breaching Infection Control protocols were unacceptable. The actions of Hospital Administrators in demanding that our family find non-existent alternate care facilities and delivering an invoice for $18,238.00 on account of an alleged liability for a co-payment were functionally an attempt to expel a dying patient from the Hospital by Hospital Administrators.

    The actions of the Hospital Administration caused extreme hardship and suffering to our Mother and to our family at a time when compassion and care were required. Our Mother should have been treated with respect for her civil rights and be permitted to die with dignity.

    How can we continue to allow the offender to regulate itself?
    Please join our fight for Ombudsman oversight of Healthcare. Call your MPP and demand that they support Bill 122 when it is re-introduced this year. Read about our story and “Like” us at our FB Page :

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s