B.C. health care facilities ban families, intimidate visitors with police presence

Two more incidents this week reveal a disturbing and growing trend by health care facilities and health care authorities in British Columbia to intimidate and bully visitors.

Examples of health care facility staff banning family members and using police to intimidate visitors also feature prominently in the story of Jean Wilder of Invermere, B.C., first reported by Seniors at Risk on April 26, 2012 (see update at end of this posting).


Victoria General Hospital bans mother from seeing son

May 31, 2012:  Times-Colonist, Victoria, BC

A 73-year-old mother who traveled to Victoria from South Africa to care for her seriously ill son has been banned from Victoria General Hospital after she says she tapped a nurse on the head to get her attention.
Shirley Spence, originally from England, has been (more…)

Public Guardian cited for fraud, abuse of seniors

In the wake of the Jean Wilder case in Invermere, BC, people have sent Seniors at Risk stories implicating the Public Guardian & Trustee of abuse of authority and fraud in managing the estates of seniors who they placed under their control, including:

  • a PGT staff member was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars of real estate and other assets from seniors for whom the PGT was appointed guardian,
  • The Public Guardian & Trustee seized the joint bank accounts of an elderly couple after the husband complained about mistreatment and neglect of his wife by care facility staff, and forced his wife to remain in an institution rather than to be cared for at home with home care, and
  • PGT staff “ransacked” the home of an elderly woman who was under the PGT’s (more…)

Government expropriates rights, freedom, assets

60-year-old Jean Wilder – held by health authorities in care facility


UPDATE:  May 14, 2012  Readers outraged by the Jean Wilder case sent in other similar stories, see:   Public Guardian cited for fraud, abuse of seniors



A 60-year-old wife and mother of two in British Columbia, Canada is being held against her and her family’s will. She was transferred to a residential care facility in February 2012 to recuperate from surgical complications because the health authority said there were no other places or services available. Jean Yukiko Wilder has been denied access to her family and to a lawyer, and has had her real estate assets placed under government control.

Incredibly, all of this is being done without due process, without formal notification to Jean Wilder or her family and, above all, with no explanation or justification. Her family, husband Curtis Wilder, daughter Trina Wilder and her partner Marc Normand, and son Tim Wilder, are reeling from their bewildering and frightening experience, and have tried everything they can to correct the situation.

The rapid escalation of unimaginable events drove the family to register complaints with authorities, to understand the bizarre actions of staff and officials and resolve the situation. Their panic and desperation is evident in their complaints to officials (which can be read below).

Authorities have imposed severe restrictions on Jean Wilder’s rights and freedoms, and on her family, and are not providing any information about what they have done and or the reasons for their actions.


UPDATE:  May 3, 2012  Other cases emerge of seniors held “against their will”

Parksville, BC resident Marie Narraway reports that a friend who was diagnosed with “mild dementia” was “taken to Eagle Park (care facility) against her will.”  Oceanside Star – April 5, 2012


Read full Jean Wilder story below:

The Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK

News Release

Residential care facility and Interior Health Authority deny family & lawyer access to 60-year-old woman

April 25, 2012 – Invermere, BC

Jean Wilder, a 60-year-old wife and mother recently transferred to an Invermere residential care facility following surgery, is being denied the right by the Interior Health Authority to have visits by family and friends. Her family insists she is being kept in the care facility without due process, and against her will.

The care facility, Columbia House, and Interior Health Authority (IHA) are refusing to recognize legal authority held by the family, refusing to provide information, and refusing to permit Mrs. Wilder to have access to a lawyer. The facility did not obtain the consent of Mrs. Wilder or any legal representative to be admitted to Columbia House.

“She’s being held against her will, and against our wishes” say her family, husband Curtis Wilder, daughter Trina Wilder and her partner Marc Normand, and son Tim Wilder. “She wants out, so we intend on fulfilling her wishes,” Normand said.

Family members say they were told by the IHA that Mrs. Wilder had to go into the care facility following post-operative complications because there were no other places or services for her. The situation deteriorated a few weeks after Jean was admitted to Columbia House when the care facility demanded pre-authorized payment of fees but refused to provide information about fees charged. Marc Normand, the family member who holds Jean Wilder’s Power of Attorney (POA), refused to sign the contract without first receiving that information.

“Trying to get a list of all possible charges Jean could face was the start of all our trouble. I couldn’t understand why it is a big deal,” says Normand. (more…)

BC’s Ombudsperson report hides worst abuses in residential care

CRITIQUE of the report “The Best of Care” released to the public in February 2012 re the “Inquiry into Seniors Care in BC” launched by the Ombudsperson in 2008.

The Ombudsperson’s report, The Best of Care, in all of its hundreds of pages and four years in the making, makes virtually no mention of the rampant, systemic and deliberate abuse of elderly people and their loved ones by institutional staff and public agencies and authorities.

Despite all the hoopla and attention given to the introduction of a Residents’ Bill of Rights by the Ombud and the BC government mandating that the Rights poster be put up in every care facility, residents in care facilities ­across BC continue to be brutally abused by institutional staff, to have their rights and freedoms taken away from them illegally, and to have control of their assets and legal authority over their person taken over by the government.

The Ombudsperson states in her report (Overview, p.98) The quality of care that seniors receive in residential care facilities is the most significant concern for residents and their families. Yet, in the Ombudsperson’s website the list of Case Summaries, a representative sampling of the cases that her office handled shows that of the 16 representative cases described, only one case was about poor care or abuse by institutional staff.

Why is institutional elder abuse being ignored?

Elderly people and their families and friends are routinely intimidated, screamed at, threatened, and banned. Parents and children prevented from seeing one another. People who’ve been friends for decades suddenly banned from seeing each other because care facility staff don’t want them around. Why would two eighty-year-olds not be allowed to continue their decades-long relationship? Residents live in fear of what staff will do to them when visitors leave the facility. Care facility staff refuse to let resident’s lawyers visit them to establish Representation Agreements. Health (more…)

Kathleen’s demise: a cautionary tale

BY ROB WIPOND July/August 2011  FOCUS Magazine

There’s much to learn about BC’s laws and eldercare system from the last years of Kathleen Palamarek’s life in a local nursing home—especially from the battles that were fought in her name between her children, care providers and the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

It was a small but important epitaph for a much-loved woman. NDP West Kootenay MLA Katrine Conroy spoke in the provincial legislature in June in support of a public inquiry into the recent “suspicious death” of Kathleen Palamarek, an 88-year-old resident of Broadmead Lodge in Saanich.

During Lois Sampson née Palamarek’s five-year struggle to help get her mother out of the nursing home, Kathleen became an icon to local seniors advocates. That’s why the Saanich Peninsula Health Association, Vancouver Island Association of Family Councils, Old Age Pensioners Organization local, and others have been blitzing politicians, media and public agencies with requests for an inquiry.

“[T]he suspected abuse was due to overmedication, and the family needs answers,” said Conroy.

Yet the story involves much more than possible improper medicating; I’ve been following it since 2006. Kathleen’s life, and now death, is a tragic…

Read More at:  http://www.focusonline.ca/?q=node/249


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Who Has the Right to control Your Life? – Focus Magazine Article

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