Skip to content

Former city councillor still waiting for a bed

Doug Evans infected for second time with C. difficile

It's now been four months since former Burnaby city councillor Douglas Evans was admitted to Burnaby Hospital due to complications with Alzheimer's disease. But after numerous setbacks, including pneumonia, the loss of the use of his legs, and now a second infection of C. difficile, he's not much closer to being transferred to a more appropriate long-term care facility, according to his daughter.

Evans' family went public with the ordeal when they found he had been given more than 100 doses of an antipsychotic drug typically used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, something they say has led to his deteriorating condition.

"When he walked into the hospital, he was healthy and capable and going for walks and dressing himself. He was a healthy man except he had Alzheimer's and now he's still in the hospital and he cannot walk anymore," said Evans' daughter Diane. "Antipsychotic drugs . ended up constricting all the muscles in his legs."

It took almost 14 weeks for Evans to be assessed by a social worker so he could be put on the waiting list for a bed in a care home.

"Apparently a computer matches him to a bed whenever one becomes available and there's no timeframe. It could be months before a bed is available," Diane said. "Right now we're just trying to keep him as healthy as possible while we wait for a bed."

But as long as he has the C. difficile infection he got while in Burnaby Hospital, he can't even be considered for a transfer, according to Roy Thorpe-Dorward, Fraser Health spokesman.

"Until a patient is stabilized and deemed no longer to need hospital level care, they can't be properly assessed for residential care placement because we don't know what their needs would be," Thorpe-Dorward said of Fraser Health's policy.

Thorpe-Dorward did not have the specific numbers, but he said wait times are typically a few weeks in this area.

The whole situation could have been avoided if the province had more subsidized long-term care beds available, Diane said. Her father, like many seniors on his ward, cannot afford to pay the approximately $80,000 a year needed for a bed in a private care home.

"It just seems so ridiculous to us that there's an entire ward in the hospital full of elderly people with Alzheimer's, waiting for beds in care homes. It's expensive to keep these people in hospital," she said. "If we had known what was going to happen, we would have gotten him out of there right away and taken him home but we had no idea that it was going to end up like this."

While Evans' family takes shifts caring for him and keeping him company, most of the patients on his ward don't appear to have any family visiting them, Diane added.

The family has filed a complaint with the Fraser Health Authority and asked for answers as to why Evans got pneumonia and C. difficile, and lost his ability to walk but so far, they have not heard any updates.

"Supposedly they're doing an investigation. They say it can take 40 days and they haven't contacted us recently," she said. "I also sent it do the Minister of Health, Margaret MacDiarmid, and Ralph Sultan, the minister of state for senior. . I thought when you sent them a letter, they were supposed to respond but I've not got any response from them whatsoever."