Family Leaves Grandmother At An ER to Go On Holidays

I am loathe to excuse those who dump off their elderly grandparents so that they may go on holidays, especially those from a province who consistently vote for corrupt and inept governments. I will say, however, that the very system that now wags its finger also takes away the power for the average individual to take his and his family’s health matters into his own hands. Private healthcare in Canada is treated as an inexcusable indulgence. Citizens are forced to pay into an inefficient system. If the average person didn’t have to pay into such a system would parents of autistic children beg for educational assistance with cap in hand? Would those who need knee or hip replacements be lingering in pain? Would families dump off their grandmothers in emergency rooms for a week-end respite?

Or am I talking treason?

An elderly woman spent more than a week in a Halifax emergency room because her family refused to take her home, according to the chief of Nova Scotia’s largest ER.

Dr. Samuel Campbell said the woman was not ill, but her grandchildren were looking after her and felt they could no longer cope with her mild dementia.

Campbell said Halifax Infirmary emergency room staff contacted her next of kin — the woman’s children, who were in Florida at the time — but they became angry that she couldn’t stay in emergency and refused to take her home.

The staff were threatened with legal action or with bringing the issue to the media.

“The family was just saying, ‘We refuse to take her home. She’s your problem. Do something’,” said Campbell in an interview on Thursday. “Nurses are crying and social workers are desperate.”

The woman stayed at the hospital for 215 hours, or almost nine days, before being discharged Thursday, said Campbell.

“That’s 60 patients, 60 sick patients that basically did not get care while she was here because she was using up the space that they paid their tax dollars to provide for their emergency care,” said Campbell, adding that another elderly person was in the emergency room for more than four days.

Such situations are becoming all too common in the region’s emergency rooms, said Campbell: Elderly people who are not acutely ill are clogging the system and preventing others from receiving emergency care.

Campbell said some families are not planning for the long-term care of their loved ones and instead drop them off at emergency when they can no longer cope with their needs.

“They throw their hands up and say they can’t manage any longer… In some ways it’s almost abandonment,” said Campbell.

“The problem for us is that we can’t do our job… The emergency department is for managing emergencies. An emergency is an unexpected health crisis. This is not an unexpected health crisis. It’s a social crisis that should have been anticipated. They didn’t suddenly become demented and old.”

Campbell said in most cases, the elderly person has cognitive issues.

“They languish in the emergency department. It’s lit 24 hours a day. It’s noisy 24 hours a day. It’s not a calm environment, which is exactly what these people need,” said Campbell.

Health Minister Leo Glavine reiterated Thursday that wait times for long-term care beds are coming down. He said Emergency Health Services are also now able to go to homes and address health needs without going to the emergency room.

“Part of that… is educating our senior population so that they know that there could be another avenue for them to get the care that they need,” said Glavine after a cabinet meeting.

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  • disqusW6sf

    What the hell is wrong with this family. I know at least 4 scenarios of families dealing with dementia and they all looked after their afflicted family members with love and responsibility.

    • Bataviawillem

      With all due respect, these old people payed into health care for decades and now there families are responsible for there care, wile working and paying into that same heathcare money pit.
      These people payed for care and did not get it.

      • disqusW6sf

        I know. But it isn’t the ER or hospital that should be looking after them.

        • Bataviawillem

          So if it is not the ER, what is it?

          • disqusW6sf

            Long term health care OR living at home with home care. One needs to plan.

          • Bataviawillem

            Good luck with that.
            Never seen it happen.

          • Alain

            It does happen when you or the family can afford it, but not covered by our socialised health care system that I have seen.

          • Bataviawillem

            Bingo, we pay halve of our income to the government, and when it counts we have to pick up the (due to government regulations) very high tap ourselves.

          • Bataviawillem

            So how come the ER of the hospital did not moved the patient to such facility if that is the proper place?
            Just get the orange helicopter to bring the patient there, all done in a couple of hours.

          • I see your point but the bigger problem is that (aside from post-modern selfishness) people have no ability or power to make these things happen. The government takes not just money but ability to look after one`s self and family. People have to beg the very government that promises help and does not deliver for the assistance they need.

            It is sad and absurd at the same time.

      • B__2

        If they “payed into health care for decades”, then I’m assuming that would have been a private health care fund that invested their money and now would be available to pay off the current medical expenses. So, no problem, right?

        If you meant they paid their taxes, some of which went into medical health care, then no – there is no money set aside to pay for their current health care. It was spent on health care for the people who needed health care in the past. The government did not make investments that will pay off – it not only spent all the money taxpayers paid in taxes, they spent more money than they received and took out loans that have yet to be paid off.

        • DavidinNorthBurnaby

          Why, it’s almost as if socialism doesn’t work!

    • Alain

      I agree about what I consider the selfishness of the family, but at the same time it does not let the “health” care system off the hook in my opinion. When they say she was taking up someone else’s place, what they mean is that they had other empty beds and rooms but due to rationing they remained empty. Socialism always results in rationing and waiting lists or queues.

      • disqusW6sf

        It is a broken system and I’m not sure litigation is the answer.

        • Bataviawillem

          It’s a kleptocracy.

          • disqusW6sf

            So how would you solve the problem with our hospitals overcrowded and not always able to get into the ltc facility you want. Health care employees and physicians work long arduous hours and believe it or not they/we are trying to fix the system we’re in and it happens very slowly because it is huge and complex. This is a problem whether it is based on socialist programs or not. Show me a perfect system. There will always be complaints.

          • Bataviawillem

            Don’t tax the shit out of us and we pay for it ourselves, that is what we have do in the end anyways to get proper care, even with the all the tax we pay.

          • disqusW6sf

            Whatever. People still won’t be happy. It is the nature of health care.

          • Bataviawillem

            At least we have ourselves to blame.

          • disqusW6sf

            Fine.

          • Justin St.Denis

            It is the nature of the Canadian healthcare system, actually. You should travel a bit more… Believe it or not, there are better places to live, esp. if you have chronic health issues. Iwish it were not so, but there you have it…

          • disqusW6sf

            You don’t know anything about me. I have lived in Banglesh and Israel and have traveled to Europe and other parts of the far east I prefer to live in this country because my family is here and so is my work.

          • Justin St.Denis

            Touchy, too, I see. I can only deduce from the comments you post. No need to pull out the “bitch” card…..

          • disqusW6sf

            And you love it. Don’t you sweetie.

          • Justin St.Denis

            Read my comments, dear heart. I am anything but sweet. indeed, I think I may have killed a few of your ilk during my military years. It felt oddly pleasant…..in point of fact. Ask any veteran of war, if you are not afraid to do so. Vets tend not to take to fartcatchers.

          • disqusW6sf

            Liar liar pants on fire psycho!

          • Petrilia

            Where is it better?

          • Clausewitz

            You expect a Liberal government to think that we have the intelligence to spend our own money responsibly? Pass me my beer and popcorn.

          • Alain

            Agreed that there is no perfect system that pleases everyone, but for a start get the government totally out of running hospitals and the medical profession. Far too much money now goes to top heavy boards filled with bureaucrats most of whom have no medical qualifications. At least let it be treated as a provincial insurance plan allowing hospitals and clinics to remain private. There are plenty of better examples in Europe, that may not be perfect but remain far superior to what we have.

          • Justin St.Denis

            DisqusW6sf, you are clearly having difficulty wrapping your head around the fact that what you have been told your entire life – that our healthcare system was “humane and doing fine” – is a flat-out lie. There are holes the size of entire cities in our healthcare system. And it is far from fair, equitable and available. But theWORST thing is that Canadian law makes it impossible to procure private medical services. Once you are grown up, I suggest you out together your own little healthcare nest egg in the event that you need something sooner than the Canadian healthcare system can provide it. The system will let you die. Your money won’t. I speak from experience.

          • disqusW6sf

            I never said our health care system works. I think I should know. I have been working in it for the past 10 years!

          • Justin St.Denis

            How could I know that? That having been said, it is MEANINGLESS. It does not means you understand anything. I know zombies who have a longer track record……

          • disqusW6sf

            Oh honey bun don’t get your knickers in a knot.

          • Justin St.Denis

            Piss off, beta boy. No more words for you as of 9:29. You are a waste of space, air and carbon. Bye-eeeee!

          • disqusW6sf

            Sweet dreams darlin’

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            The abrogation of choice is the worst thing.
            And it’s even worse when hypocrites like Danny Williams become medical tourists.

        • Alain

          No amount of litigation can fix it. It will take a lot more than that, and there is no will even to attempt to fix it.

          • disqusW6sf

            When you speak of will who do you mean?

          • Alain

            I mean the refusal by government/s to change it. Health care is clearly a provincial jurisdiction as laid out in our Constitution, yet when Harper meekly attempted to return control to the provinces the premiers screamed bloody murder. Had they accepted what was being offered each province could have made changes to improve the system. However they wanted none of that preferring to demand more federal money for the failing system.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            Harper didn’t meekly return control of health care to the provinces.
            He sent Flaherty down to meet the provincial finance ministers.
            They wanted a big confab, maybe several days of discussions.
            Flaherty threw a cheque on the table and said here’s your money you figure it out.
            And then he walked away.
            That’s when they started screaming bloody murder.

          • Alain

            Whatever it was an attempt to give back to the provinces what is actually their jurisdiction. The point was that they were free to change or devise a system that best met their needs instead of the present one plan fits all. An example being they were being given the freedom to accept private hospitals and clinics and act more as an insurance company. They rejected taking responsibility, since it is so much easier to bitch and complain and blame another level of government for their own mismanagement. It could have been a start towards a big improvement.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            Harper believed in the constitutional division of powers.
            He basically said here’s the money now go do your jobs.

          • Alain

            Exactly the point I was making, just as the premiers refusing to accept their own responsibility.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            We’ll see what happens in Manitoba now.

          • Clausewitz

            Harper actually read the BNA Act which to this day is still the founding document of the separation of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments. Even Trudeau the elder wasn’t stupid enough to mess with that.

          • Petrilia

            Most people are too old and sick to fix it, when they need it.

        • Waffle

          Seem as if we brought in that euthanasia bill in the nick of time, eh? (sarc.)

          • disqusW6sf

            Yep. You know what I see . I see seniors helping seniors. 85 year olds helping 95 year Olds and telling staff what they need to do. Oy vey as they say. I’m going for a walk.

          • Waffle

            I don’t have to worry about grandkids leaving me to the tender mercies of the ER departmet. All I have is Farfel and he is not about to abandon the only human in the world who feeds him, cleans his litter box and puts up with his obnoxious behaviour. He’s a smart cat and he knows very well who puts the kibble in his bowl.

          • Petrilia

            Don’t you worry about Farfel, one of your neighbours who loved you will be honoured to take him.

          • Waffle

            I used to worry about him, but it was a wasted emotion. He is a wily little beast and I’m convinced that when I’m gone, he will burrow his way into someone else’s heart. If you knew his history, I think you’d agree. A brief summary: at 6 mos. he conned a vet assistant into keeping him (rescue from an abusive pet store owner); at 2 years she conned me into taking him because his behavior was disrupting the clinic. I’ve been his slave for the past 7 years.

          • Petrilia

            That is what I see too. It is so sweet but what happens when the 85 year olds get sick, or as I saw drastically burned out of their home?

      • Also consider that we can now kill people off for beds.

        So there`s that.

  • SMC_BC

    Since the elderly woman clearly didn’t need emergency care her children ought to be billed accordingly.

    • Bataviawillem

      The elderly woman was billed for it for decades already, but its up to the children to take care of here 24-7 wile paying in themselves, seems the government sells us shit.
      We are paying the government money for healthcare that our children have to give us?

      • B__2

        “I paid my taxes” is a bogus argument: these taxes were spent on contemporary goods and services when those taxes were paid. No money was set aside to pay for health care in a person’s years after retirement. On the contrary, almost every government has gone into debt to finance keeping the voters happy in the moment and the politicians in power, leaving a debt that your children and your children’s children will be asked to pay off. Face it – the money has been spent already and if you want medical services then you must pay for them – now.

        • Bataviawillem

          So you think that`s OK

          • B__2

            No. But to fix the problem we must first agree on what the problem is.

        • How can people save when the government takes the lot?

          Granted, people also beg to be looked after, too, so….

          • B__2

            Well the intelligent independent families look at their finances, look how the government is dealing with their taxes, and make appropriate plans and savings. This is one of the reasons this group delays or avoids having children, knowing of the cost of having children, but also that any children will be responsible for the the debt incurred today.

            In that group who pay none, little or insufficient taxes, some might recognise the problem but can’t do anything about it except to try to vote for a government who will make changes to fix the problem. Then there are those who think the government just needs to either print more money, borrow more money to take care of the aged population, or take more from the group that is paying taxes.

          • At this rate, no one has children and the elderly get killed off.

            People who squander their money are another issue. It’s all very well and good to point out their flaws. What does a fiscally responsible person or family do with elderly parents who need specialised care which runs into the thousands? Keep in mind how much the average Canadian pays in municipal, provincial and federal taxes, all of of which are rising.

            THAT is the problem. Yes, irresponsible people cost us. That doesn’t fix things for responsible people.

          • dance…dancetotheradio

            How can people save when the government takes my taxes to incentivize single mothers to have more children than I can afford to raise on my own?

          • That is part of the problem.

            What B_2 said isn’t wrong but it is a theory. It’s a theory because the government makes it nearly impossible to save money and put it aside.

            Yes, there are irresponsible people but there are also responsible people who find themselves stuck.

            We need to to stop letting the government rip us off.

          • DavidinNorthBurnaby

            We have reached the point where the average family pay more in taxes then they do for food and shelter. That is criminal.

          • Exactly.

    • B__2

      If medical care is a Right acknowledged by the state, then surely it then becomes the state’s responsibility? Once you believe that the government’s job is to ensure the health and happiness of every citizen, then you will feel free of any obligation to do anything yourself. Even for relatives.

      • Bataviawillem

        So after paying tons of money one does not have any claim on care, one has to rely on family.
        Seems like a raw deal.

        • B__2

          People in the past who paid taxes received the benefit of those taxes at the time, or benefitted from the lower taxes that they paid at the time by not having some of this money set aside for future retirement or medical treatment. Sending money to the government is not a sound investment strategy – unless you are funding individual politicians that will make decisions that benefit you.

          If you are talking about a ‘social contract’ between the government and you, where in return for your current tax monies the government will provide future welfare and health benefits, then this is a Ponzi scheme. It requires ever more current taxpayers to pay for the existing recipients benefits, and later will require even more taxpayers to pay for the benefits of those paying now. How many taxpayers does it require to keep a previous taxpayer in a nursing home? How many taxpayers will it take to keep these current taxpayers in a nursing home when they require one?

      • SMC_BC

        Granny didn’t have a medical problem or need. Her whacked out family forced the hospital to act as a babysitter and hotel. Therefore granny’s spoiled brat kids ought to get stuck with granny’s housing bill.

        • B__2

          Well obviously there was some medical issue, as granny could not be left on her own to manage for the nine days by herself. Most older people I know would not accept being dropped at an ER for nine days and would be aching to get back home as soon as they could possibly sign themselves out of hospital even against medical advice.

          What would stop a grandparent of mental competence from just taking a taxi to their normal home and living there? If they actually wanted to spend 9 days in ER (and if you’ve ever spent any time in ER, it’s not a comfortable place, and not the place to go if you need a rest), then there is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed, even if it is a mental issue.

          • SMC_BC

            There wasn’t a medical issue requiring the need for hospital. According to the article the only thing wrong with the woman was mild dementia. All the family needed for her was respite care. But instead her family decided to dump her in emergency to avoid respite fees because of that they ought to be billed.

  • useless opinion

    Does anyone really want all of the dirty little secrets in Ontario/Canadian healthcare? Not enough space, but here are a few. In a town in northern Ontario a fully subsidized old age home houses the parents of the wealthiest folks in town, who when they show up bimonthly with their Cuba tans, complain about the care their parents are getting that everyone else is paying for. In one small town Ontario hospital, a family that had so much money, quietly paid for their mother to live in the hospital for years. No one from the Ministry of Health every asked a question. A patient in an Ontario hospital had the police put upon her for not wanting to leave. She being a smart cookie asked if the police officer was a doctor. She also asked the police officer if he a criminal or civil warrant to remover her. The cop looked at the nurse and said, “This hospital is going to need a very good lawyer.” The lady could not go home and did not like the choice of long term care she was offered so she stayed put in the hospital, while not needing any care that could not be provided in a long term care home. The newest trend is for belligerent unhappy seniors calling the 911 system to get paramedics to do homecare duties when the time allotted by ccac is expired. Many medics report being asked to do dishes, feed the cats, and other unmentionable care that would violate pt care standards set down by the MOH that apply to paramedics. Folks, we have run out of money, and that family in the Maritimes does not want to pay for their mother/grandmother to live in safety, so in the usual welfarite mode of the trailer park boyos, it is off to the ER.

  • Millie_Woods

    “You’d need to have to have a heart of stone not to laugh”.

    • Bataviawillem

      Laugh about what?

      • Millie_Woods

        Somebody dropping their sick grandmother off for the government to look after. Socialist slapstick at it’s finest.

        • Petrilia

          Not the least bit funny.

    • Waffle

      When I read this, I couldn’t help but think of National Lampoon’s “Vacation” (1983).

      • Millie_Woods

        Heh! I forgot all about that scene. The ‘vacation’ movies were Chevy’s best by far. I wish he made more.

  • WalterBannon

    Jesus Christ. Who the hell are these people. They should not be allowed to vote.

    • B__2

      But they do vote, and they have voted for governments to take responsibility for all sorts of things that families had once dealt with themselves. It’s a natural evolution as part of the socialist/communist plan. That is why we are where we are right now. It is what happens when traditional families and communities are broken up, where rights are divorced from responsibilities. In the future, the state will take care of you from cradle to grave, and in-between will provide for you, give you a job (if you want one). The communist future.

    • Justin St.Denis

      I’ve always found a particular heartlessness lurks behind the Maritime facade. It’s an absolute MONSTER in PEI – among the most hypocritical and unpleasant people I have ever had to deal with. Then again, when they turn off their “TOURISM” mode, the facts come out and so does the ugly. Too bad, actually. I had almost bought their schtick as a tourist, they were that good!

  • ntt1

    this is the hidden beauty of turdos right to die laws, just get the batty old gits to sign on the dotted line and its all legal . what a stroke of genius, no more annoying taxpaying citizens trying to holiday with impertinent inquires about grandma, just get ’em to sign the form and its done.
    Thank god its 2016 eh justin?

  • ismiselemeas

    Well, the French solution is to just leave them in the attic and lock the doors. 15,000 elderly died in the heatwave of 2003 while their families were away on holiday over 2 weeks in August. The army had to bring in refrigerated trucks to deal with the bodies they were pulling out of houses when the families got back.

    • B__2

      I believe it comes from a distinct lack of ice floes in France. (Referring to the reputed Inuit practice of the elderly put out on an ice floe to die.)

    • Justin St.Denis

      Ah, the French! Profiles in courage!

    • That STILL makes me sad.

  • Frances

    “Campbell said some families are not planning for the long-term care of their loved ones…” I call buffalo bagels on this one. Unless Nova Scotia is truly exceptional, the family TOTALLY CANNOT do any long-term planning without the doctor signing off and all sorts of bureaucratic interventions. That is, of course, unless Granny has a nice little nest egg tucked away to pay for private care; even then, the “daughter-in-charge” will far too often be up against the siblings who, despite not having any day-to-day responsibility for Granny, are far too ready to insist on their wishes being followed when it comes to actually spending Granny’s money on her care – as in the first question is “what will it cost?” as opposed to “will this be good for Mum?” and basing their response on the answer to the first question.

    Sounds rather as if the children of this patient went off on a much-overdue and long-deserved break, during which Granny’s dementia became such that the grandchildren couldn’t cope. To be fair, the grands are probably all either at school or at junior jobs where taking time off to look after Granny – even if they could cope – just isn’t on.

    Been there, done that, have the scars. So do the family. One offspring will never forget the ten days or so was left as sole “carer” for Granny when the rest of us were off celebrating a sib’s graduation elsewhere (too inconvenient for my sib to take care of our mother so our family could all celebrate together). Said offspring rallied – as did all the offsprings – to walk with their Granny through her last journey. But the journey took its toll on me as well. Did get a break – doctor’s orders as organized by yet another offspring – and had a week away during which spouse and remaining offsprings did yeoman duty.

    When told Mum needed to go into a nursing home, tried to find out options other than the “public” ones, but didn’t get anywhere, and was both too overwhelmed (the betting in the family the last few months had been as to whether Mum or I would end up in hospital first) and too busy to sort things out. Mum ended up at a not-that-great home close to us, but it had features she likes, and we were there daily. Still regret, though, that I didn’t have the courage to tell my sib to whistle for the inheritance and get Mum into a really great home – paid for from her investments – for her last months.

    • Justin St.Denis

      Yours is an all too familiar experience for Canadian families.

      • Frances

        Thank you for your understanding, Justin. We survived and are stronger – although not without wounds – for our walk with Granny. Not every family has the resources we could pull in during that walk.

  • dance…dancetotheradio

    What’s missing in this discussion is why the fuck are my parents my problem.

    • Clausewitz

      Really????