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N.B. woman shocked after 88-year-old mother stuck in hospital supply room during bed crunch

N.B. woman shocked after 88-year-old mother stuck in hospital supply room during bed crunch
Karen Totten says nothing might have ready her for the ache of seeing her mom Irene MacNeill, 88, ‘stripped of dignity,’ mendacity in a hospital provide room Thursday. A strung-up bedsheet was all that supplied her any privateness and she or he needed to put on sun shades to protect her eyes from the tough lights, which couldn’t be turned off. (Karen Totten/Fb)

A New Brunswick lady is demanding solutions after her 88-year-old mom, who’s in hospital awaiting a nursing residence mattress, was moved into a cramped room full of provides. 

The well being authority, in the meantime, acknowledges that it should use what it calls “non-traditional care areas” to look after its hospitalized sufferers.   

Karen Totten says she went to go to her mom Irene MacNeill on the Saint John Regional Hospital Thursday morning, solely to find anyone else in her place.

Fearing the worst, Totten rushed to the nurses station. “I used to be like, ‘Oh my God, what occurred to my mom? The place is she? No one referred to as me,’” she stated.

“They stated, ‘Oh, we needed to transfer her as a result of this particular person got here up from emerge’ … and so they took me over to the place she was — and it was the friggin’ provide room.”

Totten was shocked, indignant and harm.

“Once you’re deaf and also you’re blind and you’ll’t stroll, you want higher care than that.”

Her mom had no bell if she wanted to name for assist and her mattress wasn’t plugged in, so she couldn’t even sit as much as eat or drink, she stated.

“I imply, I do know my mom’s previous. I get it, and I do know that her life is brief. But when she would have died in that room, I don’t know what I might have finished as a result of they couldn’t have gotten in there to do something to assist her.”

The household’s story sheds gentle on a report this week that the wait listing for nursing houses in New Brunswick has hit a file excessive of 833, and that just about 500 of these persons are in hospital beds.

Fb submit elicits ‘heartbreaking,’ ‘horrible’ tales

Out of frustration, Totten posted about her expertise on social media, together with pictures that present her mom in her mattress, dwarfed by shelving items stacked with clutters of assorted medical provides and flannel sheets.

She additionally posted a brief video of the scene. 

WATCH | Karen Totten recorded this video in a crowded provide room

n b woman shocked after 88 year old mother stuck in hospital supply room during bed crunch 1

Aged N.B. lady moved to produce room in crowded hospital

Karen Totten was shocked to seek out her mom had been moved to a provide room in a Saint John hospital.


Totten stated her father, John MacNeill, 90, cried when he noticed his spouse of 65 years in a storage closet.

He cried all the way in which residence. “Not out loud. I simply appeared over and he had tears working down his face,” she stated, combating again tears.

“I really feel like I’m not caring for her, you recognize? I really feel like the entire system allow them to down.”

Primarily based on the feedback her Fb submit obtained, she’s not alone, she stated. She described the tales as “heartbreaking” and “horrible.”

Amongst them: “I went again and begged. I begged a number of instances earlier than being seen by a health care provider. My [five]-year-old ended up needing emergency throat surgical procedure. What if I had sat there like I used to be informed?”

“My mom was given a blood transfusion within the hallway. She was additionally informed to make use of a bedpan ought to she want to make use of the washroom whereas within the hallway,” learn one other.

Hospitals might use ‘non-traditional care areas’

Totten doesn’t understand how lengthy her mom was within the storage room and says the nurses, who had been apologetic and appeared embarrassed, moved her to a daily room later that day.

However she says that is greater than simply her state of affairs. She has contacted Horizon’s affected person advocate, the officer of the seniors’ advocate and written to a number of authorities officers, together with Well being Minister Bruce Fitch.

“There’s individuals in big-paying jobs and they should repair this and so they’re not. We’ve got individuals in our authorities which might be imagined to be serving to and so they’re not. Like, what are they doing?”

CBC requested an interview with Horizon Well being Community, which oversees the Saint John hospital.

In an emailed assertion, Greg Doiron, vice-president of medical operations for the community, stated he couldn’t touch upon a selected case.

However “in conditions the place our hospitals are at or overcapacity, Horizon might make the most of non-traditional care areas with a view to guarantee all sufferers might be handled and safely cared for,” he stated.

A portrait of a man sitting in an office.
Greg Doiron, vice-president of medical operations for Horizon, didn’t say how typically ‘non-tradition care areas’ are used or what steps the regional well being authority is taking to handle overcrowding. (Authorities of New Brunswick/Zoom)

“Though not very best, it is a measure hospitals generally use in cases the place capability is restricted,” Doiron stated.

Sufferers or households with issues over the care being offered are inspired to contact Horizon’s affected person consultant providers, he added.

Earlier this week, throughout a media briefing on the triple risk of the flu, respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, and COVID-19, Doiron stated Horizon hospitals are all reporting occupancy charges above 95 per cent. Emergency departments are seeing a excessive quantity of sufferers presenting with extreme respiratory sickness signs, he stated.

Province understands the ‘difficulties and challenges’ with lengthy waits

The Division of Well being didn’t reply to a request for remark about what particularly it’s doing to get seniors like MacNeill, who’re in hospital awaiting a nursing residence mattress, into long-term care houses.

The variety of New Brunswick seniors ready to get right into a nursing residence has reached a file excessive of 833 as of November, in line with Cecile Cassista, govt director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Dwelling Residents’ Rights. Of these, 483 are in hospital.

That’s up from 782 and 455 in October, figures from the Division of Social Growth present.

The Division of Social Growth “understands the difficulties and challenges with lengthy wait instances and is devoted to working with a number of companions to discover all options, like recruitment on the nationwide and worldwide ranges,” stated spokesperson Rebecca Howland.

A patient in a hospital bed in a cramped, cluttered storage room.
Karen Totten says she doesn’t understand how lengthy her mom was within the provide room as a result of she wasn’t notified by employees, however says she by no means ought to have been put in there. If her mom needed to be moved, Totten contends a standard space down the corridor would have been a extra applicable alternative. (Karen Totten/Fb)

She famous the division added employees to hospital discharge groups earlier this yr. “They assist discover alternate options, when out there, together with interim placements and secure residence help choices for people ready for placement in long-term care.”

Though Cassista steered there are beds out there in different amenities, reminiscent of particular care houses, Howland stated most of the individuals in hospital awaiting placements, known as various stage of care (ALC) sufferers, “require a excessive stage of care, which might solely be accessible in amenities reminiscent of nursing houses.”

Howland stated the wait listing will not be static. About 150 new residents entry nursing residence beds in New Brunswick each month.

She acknowledged the necessity for nursing residence beds continues to develop, nevertheless, and stated the division is actively working to open extra.

‘Engaged on it’ doesn’t minimize it

Totten says her mom has been in hospital since mid-September, when she fell and broke her arm and bruised her leg, from her hip to her ankle.

Previous to that, she was residing in an house together with her husband of their son’s residence, only a few minutes away from Totten, with residence care help.

MacNeill was medically discharged on Oct. 18 however has nowhere to go.

“Is that this what my mother and father labored their entire lives for? Is that this why we pay a lot in well being care taxes?” Totten asks the politicians in her letter.

These are human beings with actual lives and households.– Karen Totten, daughter of hospital affected person

She says she can’t perceive why New Brunswick doesn’t have sufficient beds for its aged to “stay and die peacefully.” 

She questions why measures weren’t put in place then, and why the N.B. authorities isn’t spending among the forecasted $774.4-million surplus now to resolve it.

“‘We’re engaged on it,’ simply doesn’t minimize it anymore. These are human beings with actual lives and households. Actual individuals dying in hallways throughout New Brunswick hospitals ready to be seen, assessed, cared for,” she wrote.

Totten ends her letter by urging anybody with mother and father or grandparents at residence over the vacations to “hug them just a little tighter and voice your I like yous.”

“We’re all one unhealthy fall away from dropping a senior to this failing system.”