“A colossal breakdown in care” | Calls for inquest into post-ER death

Heather Brenan, aged 68, died at 11 pm on January 28 after she was sent home in a cab from the emergency room at the Seven Oaks Hospital.

Brenan had been in the hospital for four days waiting to be admitted after experiencing difficulties eating and swallowing and after feeling sick for about a month.

As reported by the Winnipeg Free Press on March 7th:

A social worker saw her Jan. 26 and saw she was weak and ill and would require home care when she was ready to leave the hospital, her daughter Dana Brenan said. The next day, she was sent to Victoria General Hospital for a gastroscopy but was too weak for the invasive test to be completed. The doctor sent her back to Seven Oaks to be admitted until she was well enough to have the scope. That night, though, she was discharged from the Seven Oaks ER. A nurse left a voice-mail message for a family friend saying Brenan was being sent home in a cab.

“It’s a fluke that this friend picked up the message,” said Driedger. She got to Brenan’s home just before her cab arrived from the hospital. “Heather could barely walk from the taxi to steps,” Driedger learned. She collapsed on her doorstep. Paramedics couldn’t revive her, and she was returned to Seven Oak but never regained consciousness and died.

“She was waiting for admission — why was she pushed out of hospital without having received that care?” asked Driedger, who once worked as an ER nursing supervisor.

“Why was she sent home at 11 at night? Why were discharge protocols not followed? To me, that is astounding.”

The Winnipeg Free Press also reported:

“The family has the option of providing consent to make the investigation findings public and we can facilitate that… ”

Brenan’s daughter, Dana, told the Free Press earlier she didn’t have confidence in the critical-incident review system in place. When she arrived in Winnipeg on the day her mom died, she was told a Seven Oaks doctor looked at her mom’s chart and said she was OK to be sent home. Once a complaint was filed, she said she was told that doctor had actually examined her mother. “They’re changing their story.”

Meanwhile, a private company that helps seniors stay in their homes says it will help elderly clients get home safely from the hospital.

After the Free Press reported on Brenan’s death, Home Instead Senior Care issued a press release about its Home Safe program.

“We are available 24 hours a day,” said owner Julie Donaldson. For $60 for a three-hour visit, a caregiver will take a patient home from the hospital and get them settled.

“They’ll go to the hospital and help make sure they have all their things gathered,” said Donaldson. They’ll pick up prescriptions and groceries on the way home and help them get cleaned up when they get there. For $100, a Home Instead nurse practitioner will stop by within 72 hours of their return home to examine them, Donaldson said. Demand is growing for that kind of service, said the University of Manitoba commerce grad whose Winnipeg franchise business grew by 130 per cent last year.”

Read story in full at the Winnipeg Free Press here.

Ottawa to give Manitoba First Nations a $5.5 million boost.

It appears that the wait for indoor plumbing and clean, running water on the reserves in North Manitoba may be over — with some help from the Conservative government ($5.5 million boost, to be precise) — despite silence from Manitoba’s Conservative MP’s on the issue.

Federal assistance from Ottawa could not come sooner after almost a year of no action and an upcoming winter.

“More than 40 per cent of the 1,880 first-nations homes in Canada that still do not have water service are located in four communities in Island Lake region, about 500 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg on the Ontario border.

Officials from the Aboriginal Affairs department plan to travel to northern Manitoba on Friday to talk with local first-nations leaders about how to fix the problem.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said Thursday his province would be a willing partner in the federal effort to get running water to the communities that do no have it.

“We are already training people in the north to have the trade skills necessary to do the work. We are already investing in roads, up there,” Mr. Selinger said in a telephone interview.

“So we are prepared to be part of the solution,” he said. “We are pleased that they are showing tangible interest in moving forward on this.”

For the full story, read here.

Manitoba settles human rights case on intellectual disabilities.

Community Living Manitoba – a group “dedicated to the full inclusion in the community of persons of all ages who live with an intellectual disability” – experienced success after first filing a complaint with the province of Manitoba’s human rights commission.

On Friday, November 25th the government of Manitoba and Community Living Manitoba successfully mediated an agreement to move dozens of individuals with intellectual disabilities away from institutionalized living and back into their communities.

Assimilation and integration in to society for these individuals is, in the opinion of Community Living Manitoba, a basic human right.

“The Manitoba government has been under pressure to move away from institutionalizing people with mental disabilities and instead provide increased support for community living” said the Globe and Mail article, also adding a written statement by Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh, which read, “We believe this agreement supports the rights of residents at MDC to choose to live in the environment that best suits them.”

Ontario closed similar institutions in 2009.

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