A former Burnaby city councillor with Alzheimer's disease, who was in hospital for four months, was placed at Normanna, a local seniors' care facility last Thursday.
"We think it's too good to be true after going through the hospital. We're really happy," daughter Diane Evans told the NOW.
Her 82-year-old father, Douglas Evans, suffers from Alzheimer's and was admitted to Burnaby Hospital on June 25 after he got lost and was picked up by police. According to the Evans family, their father's health deteriorated rapidly once he was in care, and they found him tied to a bed, wearing a diaper, and doped up on anti-psychotic medications.
He also contracted pneumonia and two bouts of C. difficile, a bacterium that causes diarrhea and is easily transmitted in unclean environments.
The Evans family pushed for their father, who once served on the board of the Burnaby Hospital, to be placed in an appropriate care home as soon as possible, and they are pleased he's at Normanna.
"It was far too long, and I think the infections really delayed everything," Diane said. "We're still saying nobody with Alzheimer's should end up in a hospital setting. It's just really not the place for him."
According to Diane, the Normanna staff members are very helpful, they know Douglas and the family by name, and the home was "clean and orderly." Douglas is still on antibiotics for the C. difficile, and he's confined to a wheelchair since his leg muscles atrophied while in hospital. The care home staff put him to "work" folding towels, and Diane said he likes having something to do. Douglas still doesn't recognize his wife or kids, although he pretends to.
"But he knows there's someone there who loves him," Diane said. "The other day I bent over and kissed him goodbye, and he said, 'goodbye sweetheart.'"
According to the Fraser Health Authority, the average wait for someone to get into residential care from Burnaby Hospital is 20 to 26 days, but that's after the patient has been assessed as eligible. The provincial target is to place people within 30 days. Fraser Health has roughly 7,800 complex residential care beds, and their occupancy rate is at 99 per cent.
According to Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan, Evans' case underscores the lack of seniors' residential care beds in the province and the treatment Alzheimer's patients receive in hospital.
"While I appreciate Fraser Health's efforts to find him residential care, I find it disturbing that he had to wait over 120 days in a hospital that is not suitable for patients with dementia," Chouhan wrote in a letter to Ralph Sultan, minister of state for seniors.
Diane said the family still has an active complaint filed with Fraser Health about the care their father received.
"The experience at Burnaby General was exhausting and we felt unnecessary," she said. "We still feel strongly that a hospital setting is not the place for confused Alzheimer's sufferers and that using anti-psychotic drugs as chemical restraints is wrong. The drugs have damaged dad's health and rapidly advanced his Alzheimer's."
The Fraser Health patient care quality review office is reviewing the complaint and has until Nov. 16 to reply.
To read Diane's letter of complaint to the patient care quality office, go to Jennifer Moreau's blog at www.burnabynow.com under the Opinion tab.