Johannes (John) Tuerlings

Johannes (John) Tuerlings

Family waits for residential care bed

Kimberley Tuerlings is desperate to bring her dad home.

Kimberley Tuerlings is desperate to bring her dad home.

For the last few months the Williams Lake mother has been travelling to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops as frequently as once a week to care for her dad while he awaits a residential care placement.

Fifty-two-year-old Johannes Tuerlings suffered a brain aneurysm in Oct. 2010. He lived in Spences Bridge at the time and was transferred to RIH for emergency surgery.

In the span of seven months Tuerlings has undergone five brain surgeries and was recently designated a long-term care patient. He now sits in a hospital bed in Kamloops waiting for a residential care bed to become available.

The family desperately hopes that bed will be in WIlliams Lake as it is the community Tuerlings called home for 20 years and has family who can provide love, support and assistance.

Kimberley says the Interior Health Authority has told her that her dad will likely be destined for Deni House when it opens this fall but in the meantime he will remain in the Kamloops hospital or be transferred to an interim facility.

Of particular concern to Tuerlings is the time her father and other long-term care patients have to wait. She says the family was initially seeking a government-funded bed at Williams Lake Seniors Village because it was the only facility available (the health authority had announced in November 2010 the re-opening of Deni House). Tuerlings says she was told by staff in Kamloops that the wait time in Williams Lake for residential care beds was three years.

“Even with Deni House opening there will still be people on the wait list,” Tuerlings adds.

Deborah Smith, residential health service administrator for Interior Health West, is surprised that the wait time was expressed in years and says it’s not typically defined that way.

“Honestly, I can’t tell you how long people would wait for a placement,” she says of individuals on a waiting list. “It’s complex and depends on quite a number of things.”

According to the IHA, there are currently 25 individuals awaiting placement to residential care beds in Williams Lake. The majority of those patients are seeking government-funded beds.

As for the stock of funded residential care beds in Williams Lake, there are 134 at Williams Lake Seniors Village and 28 — nine of which will be designated short-stay for respite and convalescent — coming on line at Deni House.

Retirement Concepts, the company that owns the seniors village, does not provide non-funded residential care beds in the community due to the prohibitive daily rate for supplying that service.

The cost of a private residential care bed varies depending on the community but it is estimated to be approximately $180 to $190 per day.

“It’s a fairly expensive proposition from the private pay perspective,” says Tony Baena, Retirement Concepts vice-president of operations.

Baena says the company had considered converting some of its assisted living beds to residential care beds. However, that required a “considerable” capital outlay; he also cited difficulty with the building’s layout.

But he noted if the health authority expressed an interest in providing more funded beds, Retirement Concepts could comply.

“We do have additional land close to the facility and we always indicated if the demand was there and the health authority was interested in looking at additional beds in the community we would look at trying to build or convert the assisted living beds.”

In total, there are 57 more funded residential care beds in the community than in 2001.

The decision to reopen Deni House was the result of demand, Smith says.

“We certainly do recognize the demand and of course that is why we are opening the beds that we are in the fall …,” she says, adding that the IHA expects those beds to sustain the community for “a while.”

For those who are on the wait list Smith says home care such as community nurses, home support workers, respite care and adult-day services are offered to assist those individuals.

Tuerlings has spoken to Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett about her concerns. Barnett told the Tribune that Tuerlings’ is the only individual she’s heard from with concerns over wait times for residential care.

“I haven’t had other people come knocking on my door,” she says. “I know once we get the 28 beds open at Deni House we’ll alleviate a lot of the problem that people have said is out there.”

The Liberal government, says Barnett, has focussed on providing more home care but also providing residential care beds throughout the province.

Barnett is not aware of plans to create more funded residential beds in Williams Lake.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

The Horsefly Community Hall will be the site of a mobile vaccine clinic March 19, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Six COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open in Cariboo Chilcotin

100 Mile, Alexis Creek, Big Lake, Horsefly, Williams Lake and Tatla Lake

A Williams Lake area family living on Knife Creek Road lost everything to a house fire on Wednesday, March 3. (Photo submitted)
House fire destroys rural family home south of Williams Lake

The Macdonalds built their home on Knife Creek Road about 30 years ago

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Public input sought for B.C.’s police act review

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

A new daycare in Tl’etinqox (Anaham) will be located across the road from the Datsan Chugh building. (Tl’etinqox Government Facebook photo)
Daycare approved to be built at Tl’etinqox First Nation

“We’re excited,” said Chief Joe Alphonse

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read