Anglican Samizdat

October 26, 2009

Northridge long-term care home and its lack of care

Filed under: Care for the elderly — David Jenkins @ 3:37 pm

I have chronicled the tribulations experienced by my father-in-law in an Oakville nursing home in an earlier post.

After the episodes I described there and numerous complaints, things seemed to improve – until last week when he was diagnosed with pneumonia.

The nursing supervisor – I’ll call her “Angela”, mainly because that’s her real name – informed us that John had not been taking his Tylenol to reduce his fever or his antibiotics to heal the pneumonia. The question and answer session then went something like this:

Us: Can you find some other way to give John his medicine – how about a suppository?

Angela: No we don’t do that – you would have to hire a private nurse. (when I asked if that was really the answer, Angela said “no” she was just “messing with our heads”).

Us: He has mouth sores – that is why he won’t drink. Can you wash his mouth with a salt solution?

Angela: we don’t do that.

Us: He looks dehydrated; can you put him on a drip to re-hydrate him?

Angela: we don’t have the staff to do that.

Us: This is a nursing home, isn’t it? What do you advise, should we call an ambulance and have him taken to hospital?

Angela: He’s a level 3: you have to decide.

Us: well can you phone the doctor on call so we can ask him?

Angela: No, I can only call the doctor if John is injured or if he falls out of bed [!]. He is quite comfortable; you can leave him until Monday if you like and the doctor can look at him then.

After a lot more arguing the doctor was called and he advised us to call an ambulance at once. The immediate reaction of the paramedics was disbelief that the nursing home hadn’t found some way to administer the medicine that John needed.

John has been in the hospital for a day and a night now and the doctor told us that he was severely dehydrated; I have a suspicion that, had we left him in the nursing home overnight, he would have been neglected and could have died from dehydration – which makes me wonder how many others have suffered this fate.

This is a photo of John taken before the ambulance arrived; he used to be fairly rotund  – here he looks more like a concentration camp survivor:

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Northridge is a Revera company which has as its banner headline, ‘Enhancing Lives’. Whose other than the shareholders, I wonder?


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