Plan to move frail res­i­dents as­sailed

But Henri-Bradet Cen­tre must be ren­o­vated, health of­fi­cial says

Montreal Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - AARON DERFEL

The re­lo­ca­tion next month of nearly 70 long-term care res­i­dents from a Notre-Dame-de-Grâce nurs­ing home has an­gered fam­i­lies who say their loved ones don’t de­serve to live in limbo for up to 18 months.

The res­i­dents — many of them in their 80s and 90s and suf­fer­ing from lim­ited mo­bil­ity and vary­ing de­grees of de­men­tia — will have to swap the pri­vacy of their sin­gle rooms at the Henri-Bradet Cen­tre on Ch­ester Ave. for semi-pri­vate chambers at the Jewish Gen­eral Hospi­tal, one of the busiest acute­care hospitals in the city. Hen­riBradet, a pub­licly run in­sti­tu­tion, is un­der­go­ing ma­jor ren­o­va­tions.

“It’s ap­palling,” said Suzie Wile­man, whose 90-year-old mother Ruth Wile­man is a res­i­dent at the cen­tre.

“There are a lot of frail elders at Henri-Bradet. Th­ese are not peo­ple who cope well with mi­nor changes to their rou­tines. A dis­rup­tion as far-reach­ing as a move to a very dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment is no small mat­ter to the res­i­dents of Henri-Bradet.”

Wile­man is fear­ful her mother’s health might de­te­ri­o­rate sharply while at the JGH. And she’s fu­ri­ous that she and other fam­i­lies learned about the re­lo­ca­tion only last week, even though the WestCen­tral Mon­treal Health author­ity reached the de­ci­sion in Jan­uary.

The re­lo­ca­tion raises ques­tions about Health Min­is­ter Gaé­tan Bar­rette’s cost-cut­ting re­forms and whether the sit­u­a­tion could have been han­dled bet­ter had the Mon­treal Re­gional Health Agency still ex­isted. In 2015, Bar­rette abol­ished the agency, which over­saw hospitals and nurs­ing homes across Mon­treal Is­land.

Wile­man is con­vinced that had the agency still ex­isted, it would have been able to trans­fer the Henri-Bradet res­i­dents to an­other nurs­ing home rather than to an acute-care hospi­tal. The WestCen­tral Mon­treal Health author­ity — known in French as a CIUSSS — has fewer re­sources at its dis­posal.

“They han­dled it with an ut­ter lack of com­pas­sion, ter­ri­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion, poor plan­ning and they ig­nored the idea of bring­ing in the fam­i­lies to al­low us to help them find a so­lu­tion,” she added.

Stephanie Malley, chief of com­mu­ni­ca­tions at West-Cen­tral Mon­treal Health, con­firmed that Henri-Bradet res­i­dents are be­ing re­lo­cated to the JGH be­cause “there was not am­ple space” at other nurs­ing homes within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the CIUSSS.

At the same time, the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Pav­il­ion K at the JGH in Jan­uary 2016 cre­ated ex­tra space on the fourth floors of Pavil­ions C and D. The Henri-Bradet res­i­dents will be re­lo­cated to those wards.

“Ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made for the en­vi­ron­ment to look and feel the same as it did at Henri-Bradet,” Malley said in an email Wed­nes­day.

“Staff mem­bers from Hen­riBradet will be trans­ferred to the JGH with the res­i­dents, di­eti­tians will work to repli­cate the meal plan pre­vi­ously fol­lowed by each res­i­dent and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties will con­tinue as they have in the past. We are making ev­ery ef­fort to min­i­mize the im­pact to res­i­dents so they feel safe and at home in their tem­po­rary lo­ca­tion.”

It will take 12 to 18 months to ren­o­vate Henri-Bradet. A Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion for fam­i­lies shows an im­age of a ren­o­vated pri­vate room at the res­i­dence and ex­panded work­ing quar­ters for em­ploy­ees.

“To en­sure that our res­i­dents live in a safe, com­fort­able and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment, it is es­sen­tial that Henri-Bradet be ren­o­vated,” Malley said.

“The well-be­ing of our res­i­dents re­mains our top pri­or­ity and ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made to en­sure that the re­lo­ca­tion is a smooth one. The same in­fec­tion preven­tion pro­to­cols that are cur­rently in place at Henri-Bradet will con­tinue to be main­tained fol­low­ing the re­lo­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, the unit (at the JGH) will be not very ac­ces­si­ble to the acute care staff.”

But Wile­man said she’s doesn’t feel re­as­sured, and she’s hop­ing to per­suade the CIUSSS to sub­si­dize the cost of plac­ing her mother in a pri­vately run nurs­ing home dur­ing Henri-Bradet’s ren­o­va­tions.

VINCENZO D’ALTO

Suzie Wile­man says she’s wor­ried her 90-year-old mother Ruth’s health will suf­fer when she and other el­derly res­i­dents at the Henri-Bradet Cen­tre are re­lo­cated to the Jewish Gen­eral Hospi­tal. “Th­ese are not peo­ple who cope well with mi­nor changes to their rou­tines,” Wile­man says.

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