Local senior stuck in Interior Health limbo

Ninety-three-year-old Barbara Gibson has been in an acute care hospital bed for almost 100 days and she doesn’t belong there.

Ninety-three-year-old Barbara Gibson has been in an acute care hospital bed for almost 100 days and she doesn’t belong there.

Mrs. Gibson is stuck waiting for placement in a care home and cannot access much-needed adult day care programs to enrich her life in the meantime, said her daughter Peggy McIntosh.

“While in the hospital she has been unable to access either the activities at Deni House, the care facility next to the hospital, or the activities provided by the community adult day care program,” McIntosh said, explaining her mother was living at Seniors Village until June 2015 when she developed a bladder infection and went into the hospital.

As McIntosh spends more time at the hospital visiting her mom, however, she’s realizing there are many other seniors in the same situation.

“My concerns are not just for my mother but for the other people who find themselves in the acute care hospital waiting for placement,” McIntosh said, adding she’s heard at one point there were 12 people in the same predicament as her mom.

An Interior Health representative said the situation is a result of a lack of communication on behalf of staff.

“I think people were working behind the scenes and missed getting back to Penny,” said Barb Easson, a community integration health services administrator with Interior Health. “That will be rectified for sure and IH apologizes for that delay.”

McIntosh said while staying in the hospital her mom has started wandering and staff has even found her outside the hospital.

“This is a totally unsafe situation,” McIntosh said. “My worry is that she will go out during the night and not be missed as soon as she would be in the daytime.”

If her mom was participating in activities she would be doing much better because she could socialize and be stimulated, she said, noting she’s been phoned and asked to come and sit with her mother.

Easson said IH recognizes that when patients are in a hospital awaiting placement for a residential facility that the acute services don’t necessarily meet the recreation or socialization needs of patients but they are there for safety reasons until a bed comes available.

“It’s one of those situations where we are looking at how do we best meet needs of people who are in acute care hospitals,” Easson said.

Services such as adult day programs at Deni House were started to provide services to residents that still lived outside in the community to provide additional care and support.

“Hopefully with those supports in place seniors would be able to stay in their homes longer, but once seniors are moved into care, be it residential or acute, then those facilities would provide the care,” Easson said.

Interior Health is also moving much more to patient-centred care to best meet a person’s needs.

“In some situations we have arranged for acute care patients to walk over to Deni House to take in activities,” Easson said.

McIntosh said her mother is still in hospital and continues to be billed $32.50 per day since the end of August because she doesn’t need acute care.

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