Relocation of frail nursing-home residents outrages families

Relocation of frail nursing-home residents outrages families
Relocation of frail nursing-home residents outrages families

"A disruption as far-reaching as a move to a very different environment is no small matter to the residents of Henri-Bradet," says Susie Wileman, seen with her mother, Ruth Wileman, at the home on Thursday. Vincenzo D'Alto / Montreal Gazette

The relocation next month of nearly 70 long-term care residents from a Notre-Dame-de-Grâce nursing home has angered families who say their loved ones don’t deserve to live in limbo for up to 18 months.

The residents — many of them in their 80s and 90s and suffering from limited mobility and varying degrees of dementia — will have to swap the privacy of their single rooms at the Henri-Bradet Centre on Chester Ave. for semi-private chambers at the Jewish General Hospital, one of the busiest acute-care hospitals in the city. Henri-Bradet, a publicly run institution, is undergoing major renovations.

“It’s appalling,” said Suzie Wileman, whose 90-year-old mother Ruth Wileman is a resident at the centre.

“There are a lot of frail elders at Henri-Bradet. These are not people who cope well with minor changes to their routines. A disruption as far-reaching as a move to a very different environment is no small matter to the residents of Henri-Bradet.”

Wileman is fearful her mother’s health might deteriorate sharply while at the JGH. And she’s furious that she and other families learned about the relocation only last week, even though the West-Central Montreal Health authority reached the decision in January.

The relocation raises questions about Health Minister Gaétan Barrette’s cost-cutting reforms and whether the situation could have been handled better had the Montreal Regional Health Agency still existed. In 2015, Barrette abolished the agency, which oversaw hospitals and nursing homes across Montreal Island.

Wileman is convinced that had the agency still existed, it would have been able to transfer the Henri-Bradet residents to another nursing home rather than to an acute-care hospital. The West-Central Montreal Health authority — known in French as a CIUSSS — has fewer resources at its disposal.

“They handled it with an utter lack of compassion, terrible communication, poor planning and they ignored the idea of bringing in the families to allow us to help them find a solution,” she added.

Stephanie Malley, chief of communications at West-Central Montreal Health, confirmed that Henri-Bradet residents are being relocated to the JGH because “there was not ample space” at other nursing homes within the jurisdiction of the CIUSSS.

At the same time, the inauguration of Pavilion K at the JGH in January 2016 created extra space on the fourth floors of Pavilions C and D. The Henri-Bradet residents will be relocated to those wards.

“Every effort is being made for the environment to look and feel the same as it did at Henri-Bradet,” Malley said in an email Wednesday.

 

“Staff members from Henri-Bradet will be transferred to the JGH with the residents, dieticians will work to replicate the meal plan previously followed by each resident and recreational activities will continue as they have in the past. We are making every effort to minimize the impact to residents so they feel safe and at home in their temporary location.”

It will take 12 to 18 months to renovate Henri-Bradet. A PowerPoint presentation for families shows an image of a renovated private room at the residence and expanded working quarters for employees.

“To ensure that our residents live in a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment, it is essential that Henri-Bradet be renovated,” Malley explained. “The well-being of our residents remains our top priority and every effort is being made to ensure that the relocation is a smooth one. The same infection prevention protocols that are currently in place at Henri-Bradet will continue to be maintained following the relocation. In addition, the unit (at the JGH) will be not very accessible to the acute care staff.”

But Wileman said she’s doesn’t feel reassured, and she’s hoping to persuade the CIUSSS to subsidize the cost of placing her mother in a privately run nursing home during Henri-Bradet’s renovations.

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