It’s “snowing” in BC – staff term for drugging of nursing home residents

So common is the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medications by nursing home staff in British Columbia that it now has a name – snowing.

SNOWING:  a colloquial term used by health care staff for sedating an individual so they are no longer intrusive or distracting in their behaviour or the sounds they make.

Source – B.C. nursing home staff, www.saobservernet/news/

On January 12, 2012 Jack Johnson of Salmon Arm, BC died at a nursing home run by B.C.’s Interior Health Authority. The Interior Health Authority is featured in other cases brought to our attention at Seniors at Risk.

Mr. Johnson’s family believes that the antipsychotic drug Seroquel (quetiapine) was responsible for the sudden onset of Mr. Johnson’s frightening and debilitating symptoms and that it was at least partly responsible for his death, as reported by the Salmon Arm Observer, July 11, 2012.

The family describes Mr. Johnson as “the most joyful man you could ever meet” until he was prescribed Seroquel, after which he became angry and agitated.

Instead of reducing or stopping the drug, the doctors and nursing home increased his dosage. Jack Johnson’s daughter Dina Loeb says “When he went in there, he was still walking, talking, dressing and feeding himself. Within 10 days, he wasn’t doing any of that.”

The first time Dina Loeb heard the term “snowing” a nursing home care aide told her ” ‘when they’re agitated, we give them more medication. Your dad peed in the corner so we snowed him.’ Dina says a nurse at the hospital confirmed the term and told her it is common practice.”

The family brought their concerns about the effect that Seroquel was having on Mr. Johnson to the nursing home and to B.C.’s Ministry of Health but they were given platitudes and misinformation.

“They said Dad was quite happy, moving around, scooting here and there, but in reality, he was stiff as a board, mouth gaping, eyes rolled back, not knowing anyone.” 

In a meeting with doctors, nurses and staff at the nursing home, the family specifically asked (more…)

A new twist – doctor banned from visiting mother by health facility autocrats

 

Cases of elder rights being stripped by health care providers and public agencies are coming to light from coast to coast across Canada.

A reader notified Seniors at Risk of this St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador story.

It’s a story with an interesting twist.

The daughters of an 88-year-old hospital patient say that Eastern Health authority cut their visiting rights to their mother because they raised concerns about the care their mother was being given.

The twist? One of the daughters is a medical doctor.

The story of Elsie King and her daughters Yvonne and Grace was exposed by CBC Radio, St. John’s. This is the kind of journalism that CBC excels at, and should be encouraged (and funded) to do more of.

Here are the transcripts from the CBC’s podcasts of the on air broadcasts last month. Read and judge for yourself. You can listen to the broadcast too. Links to the online audio podcasts are provided at the end of each transcript.

Learn how health care facility staff, doctors and administrators can easily separate and damage families with little apparent consideration for the difficult times that the patient and the family are encountering.

Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.

Take a stand against institutional elder abuse.  

Elsie King’s daughters take Eastern Health to Court over hospital visitation

CBC On the Go – Tuesday June 12, 2012 ­– St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

An 88-year old patient’s daughters say Eastern Health cut their visiting rights when they questioned the care she was receiving. Eastern Health says it cut visits because their behaviour toward staff was unreasonable and aggressive. Each is taking the other to court.

Host Ted Blades with Jessica Doria Brown

Transcript:

There’s a battle going on at Eastern Health (St. Johns, Newfoundland) and the family of an 88-year-old woman.

Yvonne and Grace King say their mother Elsie was getting inadequate care at the Health Sciences Centre and when they spoke up about it, the health authority punished them by cutting the amount of time they’re allowed to spend with her.

But Eastern Health says it restricted their time at the hospital because of their rude and aggressive behaviour towards the staff.

The situation has gotten so bad that the sisters are taking Eastern Health to court and one of the sisters, Grace, to court as well.

From the sisters’ perspective, they say their mother has been getting second-rate care because of her advanced age. Yvonne King says staff delayed giving their Mom antibiotics, and they wouldn’t use a safety belt consistently to transfer her from her bed to the chair. They say that the staff have referred to her as “nursing home material”.

They say the hospital staff really resented it when they asked about their mother’s care. Yvonne King says the nurses wouldn’t even follow the doctor’s orders when…  [MORE]

King family vs. Eastern Health

CBC On the Go – Tuesday June 13, 2012 ­– St. Johns, Newfoundland and Labrador

Update on the King family vs. Eastern Health story. Bob Buckingham, the lawyer for the Kings tells Ted that court proceedings have been postponed indefinitely because Eastern Health has relaxed the restrictions it placed on Elsie and Yvonne visiting their mother Elsie at the Escasoni Complex.

Host Ted Blades with King family lawyer, Bob Buckingham

Transcript:

Host:  Yesterday we reported on the story of Yvonne and Grace King. The King sisters told us that they were punished for speaking up for what they said was the inadequate care their mother Elsie was getting at Eastern Health Sciences Centre. Their punishment? The health authority had severely restricted the amount time the daughters could spend with their mother. But Eastern Health told us their time was cut because of their rude and aggressive behaviour towards staff.

The situation had gotten so bad that each side was taking the other to court:  the sisters to get the visitation restrictions lifted; and Eastern Health to keep them in place.

They were supposed to be in court today, but things have changed.

Bob Buckingham is the King family lawyer and he… [MORE]

 

Top doctor’s claim – 130,000 elderly patients killed ‘prematurely’ every year; elderly woman starved to death in hospital

Readers of Seniors at Risk sent us two stories yesterday that will shock people who are not already aware that thousands of our elders’ fundamental human rights are being violated, and their lives put in danger, while supposedly in the ‘care’ of a modern and civilized health system.

In the first story below, one of Britain’s top doctors exposes the widespread practice in health care facilities of prematurely ending elderly people’s lives with morphine injection and withholding of food and water. The practice is based on a scheme known as the Liverpool Care Pathway, named for the U.K. city in which it was perfected.

Its unregulated, under-the-radar use extends far beyond the U.K. Evidence indicates its adoption (and abuse) here in B.C. Families are often told their loved one “died peacefully”, when in fact they died in the painful distress of dehydration, starvation and narcotic poisoning. By eye-witness accounts, this is an excruciating way to die.

The other story, equally horrifying, is from Canada. An elderly Winnipeg woman starved to death after not being given any food for 14 days during her 45-day stay in hospital. The hospital board said it was “sorry”.

Seniors at Risk is continually being made aware of these and similar cases of institutional elder abuse, almost daily. It is an epidemic, and a disgraceful atrocity.

When our existing laws, lax as they are, are not enforced, when no one is held personally accountable, when health organizations are not open and honest about their practices, and when there are no consequences for such reprehensible acts, then these crimes become inevitable and increasingly frequent.

Knowledge. Compassion. Courage. Action.

Take a stand against institutional elder abuse.  Start by reading these two stories:

Top doctor’s chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year

By STEVE DOUGHTY  – MAIL ONLINE  – PUBLISHED: 23:08 GMT, 19 June 2012 | UPDATED: 13:20 GMT, 21 June 2012

  • Professor says doctors use ‘death pathway’ to euthenasia of the elderly
  • Treatment on average brings a patient to death in 33 hours
  • Around 29 per cent of patients that die in hospital are on controversial ‘care pathway’…

NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients (more…)

Elder Abuse Awareness Day – June 15

ON THIS DAY WE REMEMBER AND HONOUR these nine people and all other seniors who have suffered, or are still suffering, abuse of their legal and human rights in British Columbia’s health care system, and elsewhere.

   

 

 

 

 

Please take a few minutes to learn about and to share their stories with other people.
 

 

DOLORES Brent, Trail, B.C.

 

GARY Davis, Langley, B.C.

 

ROLAND Hunter, Vancouver, B.C.

 

ERNA Luttmer, Vancouver, B.C.

 

ELDON Mooney, North Vancouver, B.C.

 

KATHLEEN Palamarek, Victoria, B.C.

 

HILDA Penner, Abbottsford, B.C.

 

STEPHEN Piccolo, Kamloops, B.C.

 

JEAN Wilder, Invermere, B.C.

 

 

  

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – http://www.inpea.net/weaad.html

 
_________________________________

Help STOP institutional elder abuse – write your elected representatives, voice your concerns online, let others know what’s happening, or… take whatever steps you think will help make a difference to protect seniors’ legal and human rights from abuse by Canadian health care institutions and public agencies.

The Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK

 

Jean Wilder still being held unlawfully, PGT applies to seize control of her assets

 

Jean Wilder of Invermere, B.C. is still being held unlawfully by the Interior Health Authority, with the full knowledge and apparent approval of the Public Guardian and Trustee of B.C.

No information has been provided to the family, despite repeated requests, about why she is still being held against her will more than three months after she was suddenly confined to Columbia House care facility and her family and friends were banned from visiting.

In our last report on Jean Wilder‘s family’s efforts to protect Jean and her rights, Marc Normand, Jean’s designated power of attorney, had just submitted the accounts for the two months he has been acting as her POA to the Public Guardian and Trustee’s office, as they had demanded.

In his submission to the PGT of the accounting statements, Marc Normand  asked the PGT for information about the unsubstantiated non-specific allegations made about him by the PGT in a “referral”, and requested information that would confirm the legal status of Jean Wilder, who the family views as being held unlawfully and without cause.

To this day, the PGT has apparently not provided one iota of evidence to Marc Normand that he has acted improperly in managing Jean Wilder’s assets. The PGT alleges that someone has accused him of something in a “referral”, but no one from the PGT has provided any substance to confirm, or information about, the “referral” allegations.

Public Guardian misleads Wilder family

The PGT had given Marc Normand to May 10, 2012, a discourteous and unreasonable deadline (one week) to submit the accounting, but he did manage to comply with that deadline.

Then, on May 17th, Marc Normand received a stunning letter in the mail. In the PGT’s response, Launa Monette, a Regional Consultant in the PGT’s Kelowna office, states:

“I have completed my assessment and (more…)

Wife wins court order to see husband of 33 years in B.C. hospital

 

Another story has been sent to Seniors at Risk that exposes inhumane and autocratic behaviour by health care facility staff towards seniors and their family members.

The situation in British Columbia health care facilities has become so dysfunctional that families, in times of great distress, are forced to resort to the B.C. Supreme Court to compel our publicly-funded health care providers and authorities to use common sense and display considerate behaviour.

Although this couple was successful in obtaining a court order against the health authority and the health care facility, few families can afford the extraordinary legal bills (usually $250 – $350 per hour) to hire lawyers for this purpose.

It begs the question – Are human rights and justice available only to the weathy and well-positioned in British Columbia today?

Story below.

Wife wins right to see husband in hospital

Judge grants unsupervised visits; VIHA calls it ‘a good outcome’

By Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist June 3, 2012

 
A Victoria woman has won the right to unsupervised visits with her husband of 33 years in Victoria General Hospital after Vancouver Island Health Authority imposed a ban restricting her to 20-minute conversations, over a speakerphone, twice weekly.
 
Retired cancer researcher Dr. Carol Haines, in her mid-60s, can now see her husband, Fred Oster, 67, a retired Royal Roads University professor, in hospital after the couple petitioned the courts.
 
On Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Judge Bob Johnston immediately granted daily, unsupervised visits to Haines from 1 p.m. until 4: 30 p.m. effective until June 11. VIHA and the petitioners will meet again Friday in an effort to reach a permanent agreement on visitation at the hospital.
 
Haines had been banned because of questions from VIHA about her psychiatric health, her impact on her husband’s health and the stress she placed on staff, the court heard. …
 
Oster suffered a severe traumatic brain injury in September 2011 that left him unable to live independently. Vancouver-based lawyer Joe Arvay, representing the couple, told the court Oster had been “involuntarily detained at Victoria General Hospital” since March 6. 
 
Restrictions on Haines’ visits have varied from daily, hourly supervised visits to two calls of 20 minutes twice weekly, over a speakerphone. The petitioners (more…)

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…)

Investigation uncovers thousands of nursing home abuse incidents

Ontario is taking action to protect seniors in residential care facilities from abuse by health care providers and public agencies – unlike British Columbia, where similar incidents of institutional elder abuse are being virtually ignored by B.C.’s mainstream news media, law enforcement and legal system, health care industry, ombudsperson, NDP opposition, and the provincial government.

 

On May 16, 2012 the Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety in Ontario released a report explaining what actions will be taken to protect seniors in residential care facilities from abuse by staff. The Task Force was created last fall in the wake of extensive investigations by the Toronto Star newspaper. 

The Star’s team were shocked to discover that “seniors in Ontario nursing homes are beaten, neglected and even raped by the people hired to care for them,” and that “residents were hit or verbally abused by staff, or other residents. Others were given one diaper for an eight-hour shift, leaving them in urine-soaked clothes or beds.” There were more than 3,200 incidents in 2011 alone. Among the Star’s other significant findings are a failure by nursing homes to report incidents, and the preparation of “sanitized” incident reports.

 

Just to be clear, in my view this is not about more funding. It doesn’t cost more to treat a resident with respect and dignity. This is about a change in culture.” Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews

 

The investigation by the Toronto Star is a model of how investigations should be conducted. 

The Toronto Star series revealed far more, and achieved far more, than the B.C. Ombudsperson Office’s recent systemic Investigation into Seniors’ Care in B.C. that consumed millions of taxpayer dollars.

Incredibly, B.C. Ombudsperson Kim Carter’s investigators appear to have not encountered a single incident of institutional elder abuse in the four years during which the Ombudsperson’s Office conducted their investigation – despite scores of reports submitted in public and private submissions to Kim Carter and her Office’s investigators about abuse, bullying, neglect, assault, suspicious deaths and unlawful actions by hospital, long-term care facility and regional health authority staff. Were her (more…)

Ombudsperson replies to letters from public – are you “personally aggrieved” ?

 

Seniors at Risk has received feedback from members of the public who sent letters to government officials to express their concerns about Jean Wilder, a 60-year-old woman recovering from surgical complications, who is being held unlawfully by B.C.’s Interior Health Authority in an Invermere, B.C. care facility.

People say their letters and requests for action are being ignored or dismissed by officials and politicians. Some feel they are being actively discouraged from raising concerns.

The response from the Ombudsperson’s Office suggests that only Jean Wilder herself can complain. Requests for assistance from human rights and legal aid groups were denied, saying they are either too busy or not interested in (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…)
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