When Manuel Medeiros brought concerns about the health care his mother was receiving to last month’s Kitimat Health Advocacy Group (KHAG) meeting, he found there were several members who understood exactly how he felt.
Medeiros told the group his mother had been in an acute care bed at Kitimat General for two-and-a-half months because there was not a bed available in the Mountainview Lodge multi-level care wing.
Having given examples of how he felt her care was falling short, he added he was “sick and tired” of being told the Northern Health Authority was going to move his mother out of town, to either Prince Rupert or Terrace.
Kiwanis Village and Delta King Place manager Lucy Borges said that while she couldn’t comment on the specific circumstances of Medeiros’ mother, she could agree “that they do almost threaten families that your loved one will have to leave the commmunity and go into other communities where there is room for them.
“I have seen it with my own eyes and it’s heart breaking.”
Chamber of Commerce representative Trish Parsons said she understood what Medeiros was going through, as would a lot of people in the community.
“This has been going on for at least five years now,” she said, adding, “I lived every aspect of it. I was also threatened that my mother-in-law would be sent elsewhere.”
Thanking Medeiros for bringing his concerns forward, Disabilities Commission rep Mary Monteiro agreed it was a major issue in the community. “We are an aging community.”
Joanne Ong pointed out that people stuck in acute beds because there are none available in Mountainview Lodge were having to pay the NHA as if they were in a multi-level care bed.
Yet in acute you didn’t get the same level of care as in multi-level.
Margaret Warcup pointed out that while she was with the Child Development Centre now, she had a long history in health care including a stint at Terraceview Lodge, Terrace’s multi-level care unit.
She said Kitimat’s problem was it lacked the “documented evidence” of the need within the community so it could get grants to build necessary housing, including MLC.
“We need to do that political step of having it documented”, she emphasized, noting the housing study currently under way was intended to fill that gap.
Pointing out that Susan Adams was the advocate for seniors in the province, Warcup described her as “the link to having better care.”
Warcup therefore urged every family member to phone Adams and say, “It is not working”.
And every health care professional should be giving people Adams’ number.
Chief of medical staff Dr. Derek Carstens said at that moment about 25 per cent of the hospital’s acute beds were occupied by people who should not be there.
As a result, people being brought into emergency were now having to stay there because there was no bed available for them in acute care.
Carstens said the way to avoid sending people out of the community was to ensure they could get the are they needed here.
But in the case of more MLC beds he asked, “Who’s going to build it? The only solution I can see is a private-public partnership.”
And he warned, “This is only going to get worse.”
KHAG chairman Goffinet assured Medeiros that the matter would be raised by the advocacy group at the Standing Committee of Finance meeting in Smithers (see story on page 3) and by city council when they met with senior NHA officials at the Union of BC Municipalities convention. “We are going to demand – again – that this be addressed.