Parkview Place care home downtown handles a "unique" demographic -- some of the poorest people with a lot of troubles and needs -- but it does not have a dedicated floor for problem residents, the inquest into the death of 87-year-old Frank Alexander heard Wednesday.
"So anyone unusually aggressive, unusually verbally abusive, unusually physically abusive -- there's no place for them that's separate from the rest of the residents?" Bill Gange, the lawyer for Alexander's family, asked care home executive director Don Solar.
Alexander died in March 2011 after being pushed to the floor by fellow resident and Alzheimer's sufferer Joe McLeod, then 70.
McLeod was admitted to Parkview Place after making headlines the previous fall. He was being held in the remand centre for assaulting his wife at home. McLeod didn't recognize her and pushed and physically kicked her out of their apartment.
McLeod was locked up for nearly 30 days at the remand centre until former Liberal leader Jon Gerrard brought the situation to the attention of the media. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority quickly arranged for McLeod to be moved from jail to Parkview Place.
"A person can wander the facility at their choice" on Parkview elevators? Gange asked Solar. Parkview Place can house up to 277 people on 12 residential floors but there is no dedicated floor for problem residents, said Solar.
Those who wander off their floor are "redirected" to where they're supposed to be, said Solar. The main floor houses the dining room and the recreation area, where Alexander received the deadly shove from McLeod that caused a traumatic brain injury. There were no official incident reports about McLeod being a "problem resident" at Parkview and hurting other residents, but many instances of attacking staff were on his file.
The inquest heard how McLeod ended up being moved to Parkview Place on Oct. 8, 2010.
Solar recalled media reports about the senior with Alzheimer's disease being in the lockup instead of a care home or hospital.
"The media event that was occurring was garnering a lot of interest and discussion," he told inquest Crown counsel Paul Cooper. "I was wondering where that AA (admission application) is going. Is it going to drop on our desk?"
Normally, applications for admission are faxed to Parkview Place, said Solar. Not long after the media reported on McLeod being held in jail, Solar said he was called by the manager of the long-term care access centre and asked if Parkview would consider admitting McLeod. Solar said he told her they needed more information but he didn't say no. Later that day, he received a call from the WRHA's chief operating officer and vice-president of long-term care and community area services, Real Cloutier. Cloutier asked him to consider taking McLeod, Solar said. "They'd moved it up the ladder."
Solar testified he didn't feel pressured to accept McLeod as a resident at Parkview Place, but felt the "rush and timeliness of the whole process."
"The assumption was there was pressure to get Mr. McLeod placed in a long-term care setting and out of remand," he said.
"Where did the pressure originate from?" Cooper asked Solar. "I would think somewhere in the department of health," said Solar.
Solar said he didn't refuse to accept McLeod but said Parkview's social worker, Jeff Roos, would have to be involved in an assessment of McLeod. Roos reported back to Solar that McLeod seemed no different than any other dementia resident at Parkview, Solar recalled. Except for one thing.
"I recall Jeff commenting it was the first time he was at an assessment where the person has been in shackles."