Home care turmoil persists despite media attention
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/09/2022 (265 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg man with quadriplegia thought it was bad when home care aides missed a few of his appointments at home in recent weeks.
But 61-year-old Patrick Dram said since he related his plight to the Free Press last week, it has become even worse; the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority cancelled his two morning home care appointments last Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, as well as his afternoon and evening appointments on Saturday.
Dram said he didn’t even know the two Saturday appointments had been cancelled until no one showed up and he called to find out why.
“On Monday, I was in bed until three in the afternoon,” Dram said Wednesday.
“I would have been in my wheelchair from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon, but I was able to pay to have somebody come at the last minute to put me to bed on Saturday night.
“I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to be lucky.”
A spokeswoman for the WRHA says the problem comes down to geography.
“Some geographical areas of the WRHA home care program are experiencing a much higher vacancy rate than others, which has led to higher-than-average cancellations in those areas,” Bobbi-Jo Stanley said.
“We are reviewing our schedules in those areas in order to minimize the impact on clients.”
Stanley said when the WRHA cancels an appointment, it tries to let the client know as soon as possible ahead of time so they can get their backup plan in place.
“Efforts to reduce vacancies in the home care program continue to be focused on improving recruitment, training and orientation processes for all positions,” she said.
“We understand the frustration for clients and their family members/caregivers when cancellations occur. Work is ongoing for recruitment and retention of home care staff. We are also using contract services and offering additional hours and overtime to help supplement our staffing levels when needed.”
Dram said he hopes a meeting next week, which will involve him, his sister, his case worker, and the manager of the WRHA Access Clinic responsible for his home care, will resolve things.
“That would be great,” he said. “I’m hoping something positive will come from it.”
Dram said because of the repeated cancellations, he is beginning to look at another WRHA program in which he and his family would find workers and the WRHA would pay for them.
“We haven’t read the package on self-managed care, but it is something we are considering,” he said.
“I’m not going to get better with physio if I miss appointments because my home care is cancelled. This is worse than it was before the article (ran).”
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.