"Interim" beds...doomed to fail if placement practices aren't updated
Today, 10:19 AM
In frustration, several members of our network who have loved ones in Sault Ste. Marie's Cedarwood facility, wrote you personally between June 1 and 8, and have once again reached out to the Northeast Family Councils Network (NEFCN) for support.
“Interim” long-term care arrangements are inevitably part of the short-term solution to the exploding need for beds. You have said these facilities must be “flow-through,” and you are striving for patient-centred decisions. But we believe system officials’ actions are undermining your intentions.
For more than half a decade we have been demonstrating to all levels of the health care system how northern system placement policies and procedures are consistently and cruelly militating against any hope of success for residents and operators of “interim” facilities and placements. The failed experiments at Cedarwood in Sault Ste. Marie, and before that Memorial Hospital in Sudbury, show system officials’ actions are making these supposed “interim” facilities, and all forms of “interim” placement, virtual dead ends. For instance, many Cedarwood and Memorial patients/residents, mostly frail seniors, moved from hospital under threat of $1000/day charges, and promises of relocation to actual long-term care facilities. Yet once these sick people stopped “blocking” hospital beds, contrary to promises, placement officials moved them to the bottom of real LTC lists, sentencing them to stay in “interim” facilities that don’t meet LTC standards, for the remainder of their lives.
The cruel and unjust impact of system officials’ obstinate refusal to change their practices has been most recently evinced in those half dozen personal letters to you from Cedarwood families. And operators and staff who are not given resources for, or expectation of long term residency, and who have no power over the unfair placement practices, face their own frustration as residents and families lash out against them because they are visible and accessible symbols of system mistreatment.
We understand you are proceeding with “interim” placement in the form of vouchers and other facilities. Your intentions are laudable, but continuing to permit placement officials to act in contradiction to your goals is a recipe for predictable failure. Please heed the lessons of the failed Cedarwood and Memorial experiments or risk multiplying cruelty, injustice and complaints across the province.
Your officials have said, with no explanation, that the law needs to change to restore justice to patients/residents. With respect Minister, we have shown that current law is sufficient. A vacant LTC bed should be filled through a quick “musical chairs” of those already waiting in the system. The remaining vacancy is then offered to someone from “outside”, so no one is denied.
Specifically, your officials ignore the opportunity under section 176 (1) (c ) of your LTC regulation to conduct this “exchange” process when a LTC care resident is “discharged” due to death (146 (8)), vacating a bed. Those who agree to “interim” moves should be categorized as “exchange” and given priority ranking for vacancies. (section 181) Proper application of this section, and cessation of threats of exorbitant charges, would help restore justice to those waiting for promised moves, promote trust in system officials’ word, and conduce to better patient flow through the system.
Over these many years we have found sympathy with our solution in NELHIN CEO Louise Paquette, MPP Glenn Thibeault, MPP France Gelinas, the PC Health Critic and many others. Yet over more than a half decade of efforts, all seem unempowered to incite any changes.
Will you please finally direct your officials to alter their practices, stop threatening the most vulnerable in your system with outrageous charges, place Cedarwood and other “interim” placed residents on “exchange” lists for priority relocation, and ensure that future “interim” facilities are truly “flow through”?
Thank you for what you are trying to do and any actions you take to correct this enduring injustice.
We look forward to your response.
Chair, Northeast Family Councils Network (nefcn.org)
"After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb...rest..
But ..only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities.. and our long walk
is not yet ended." Madiba
cc Roma Smith, Vice Chair NEFCN
Dr. Robert Bell, DM MOHLTC
Nancy Lytle, ADM MOHLTC
Louise Paquette, CEO NELHIN
France Gelinas, MPP Nickel Belt