A Winnipeg woman who has been advocating for more specialized beds for aggressive dementia patients says the healthcare system is continuing to fail Manitobans.
Faye Jashyn lived through the pain of trying to get her father, Joe McLeod, help years ago and now fights to help others who are in the same difficult position.
“I think there will be more tragedies,” Jashyn said. “They’re just waiting for something to happen.”
Jashyn’s father was at the center of a 2015 inquest after being accused of causing the death of fellow care home resident Frank Alexander.
McLeod suffered from dementia and often times couldn’t recognize his own wife.
In October 2010, McLeod was held in the medical unit at the Winnipeg Remand Centre after assaulting his wife, Rose, whom he didn’t recognize and mistook for an intruder. With no one in the family able to take McLeod, the police had no place to put him but the remand centre, where he stayed for a month before they could find him a bed in a care home.
Shortly after, he allegedly pushed Alexander who hit the back of his head and died in hospital.
The inquest report called for the creation of a special unit for persons with violent and aggressive behaviour in every personal care home. Nearly two years later, little progress has been made.
“I think it’s very scary that our province is still not getting it,” Jashyn said. “They are not understanding that it is not going to get any better.
There are only three personal-care homes in Winnipeg with the behavioural units and only 45 beds.
The Winnipeg Regional Healthy Authority tells Global News there are currently 18 patients waiting for a specialized bed.
“Six of those people are waiting in hospital and 12 are waiting in personal care homes,” Gina Trinidad, COO of Deer Lodge Centre and Long Term Care for the WRHA said. “The wait time for placement into an special needs behavioural unit is, on average, 12 months.”
A far cry from the maximum wait time of 60 days laid out in the recommendations from the inquest.
“If a patient is having a difficult time, waiting 12 months without extra care and attention to suit their needs is problematic,” Norma Kirky from the Alzheimer Society of Manitoba said.
The previous NDP government had announced plans for three new 120-bed personal-care homes in the city, although those projects are now under review by the Progressive Conservatives.
Two of the proposed homes — a new Park Manor facility in east Winnipeg and Bridgewater in Waverley West — were to be laid out in 10-bed pods so that some could be converted into special behavioural units. The province has told Global News while those projects have not been formally cancelled the scope of them is being reviewed.
Another care home in Lac Du Bonnet has been cancelled.