Late yesterday I arrived back home from visiting my sister in law for a few days. She is an amazing woman, who has amazed us with her strength and courage to face all she has. She truly inspires me, she has survived more bouts with various types of cancer, lived ten plus years longer than expected, unbelievable show of the human spirit.
Gathering up my little dog Pheobe from my brother and sister in laws, the neighbour’s, friends of mine came out to chat, they brought some difficult news that their ( they refer to her as their third daughter), at 17 was just diagnosed with bone cancer, and was in children’s hospital and would likely be there for six months. We talked about all the elements of the emotions they would all likely face and that we would ask for everyone to put this beautiful young girl on their prayer lists ( yes I’m asking you to add her to your prayer lists.). I brought this up for two reasons, the first being having her added to prayer lists, I will not go into details here as it is not my place too.
The second is to look at and question why does the children’s hospital and they do, such a tremendous job of care, why do they have the ability to support, the child in need( best of the best in Drs. And Nursing Staff, actually all staff,), they treat the patient, as well as provide care and support for the family, they do all they can to ensure the wellbeing of all, they have and do understand that looking after everyone’s needs actually ends up costing the whole system less in the long run.
Why is it not being looked at as a model, for other health care settings, from hospitals, to seniors care? We need to ask the question. During this pandemic it has taught us we must question and demand that better be done, that so many $$$ that are poorly spent on too many layers of management to run the bureaucracy that there’s no money left for the things that actually ensure best care.
After a very heart felt visit, with my heart aching for all of them, I got home, unloaded my car and took my dog for walk, it’s a great way to let thoughts just settle in.
Coming back to my apartment I was greeted by my neighbor, she lives down stairs from me, her husband Jake is in a long term care home down the street. She is a bright lively woman, but the toll of the last number of months are taking its toll. Jake is 74, Jake had a major stroke, cognitively Jake has no problems but requires full care otherwise and she was not able to provide it.
We’ve chatted many times in the last year about Jake about her struggles with feeling quilts that he has to be there, about the treatment Jake receives.
Yesterday, we chatted for long time, she is furious, she cries it’s becoming a daily thing. She has to fight with all of her being to be allowed to visit Jake again after four months of not being allowed. Jake cries all the time know. She listens to him be told to pee in his pad, then she hears him be told when he requests they change it that he’s only allowed a certain number in a 24 hour period, so they will only do a change when they feel the pad has reached the saturation point they are told to leave them on till. She is furious of all of this, she questions it, they cite all the policies that say this is how it will and is done. She knows that part of his prostate cancer means he know has frequent urination, she asks if they know that( they say oh he had prostrate cancer.? She stands there in disbelief and says clearly no one has even read his file, the reply is well we’re sorry but we have to follow our policies. She pointed out on many points she has brought forward that this is supposed to be “ Jakes home”, she reminds them this is what they promised. She goes on to list so many more issues. She said today she brought it to the managers attention that in 195 days, Jake has been given exactly three hours of time outside, she asked if we locked him up in his “ home”, in his room for 195 days, with only three hours of fresh air and outdoor time, did he think he would survive. He walked away.
She would take Jake out in his wheelchair for walks but she’s not allowed. We talked at great lengths about all the changes ( actually dismantling of long term care homes) that needs to happen.
Jake is another of our society who are being warehoused. No consideration given to the fact that sitting in a wet pad for hours and hours is taking away his dignity, takes away and destroy’s one mental well being. She said she actually wishes he would die so he would not have to endure what he’s going through by having to be in a care home.
She would be happy to bring him home if she could have the support put in place to allow it, but that isn’t a available either.
This is Long Term Care right know today here in Canada, This is Shameful. This is the way the very people who built this great country are being treated… “our country is not so Great” when it comes to looking after and ensuring our elders are given the care and respect they deserve.
This is and must continue to be brought forward, we must use our voices to fight for those who no longer can.