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Inquest into man's care-home death finds need for behavioural units

Her hands hovering over snapshot memories of her father, Joanne Rislund recalls memories good and bad about Frank Alexander, an Alziemer's patient, who was killed by another senior in a Winnipeg Nursing home.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Her hands hovering over snapshot memories of her father, Joanne Rislund recalls memories good and bad about Frank Alexander, an Alziemer's patient, who was killed by another senior in a Winnipeg Nursing home.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/5/2015 (1363 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Manitoba judge is calling for the creation of a special unit for persons with violent and aggressive behaviour in every personal care home.

“If every (personal care home) provided a unit dedicated to these patients, there would be a significantly greater chance that these individuals would be properly cared for and that the system would be safer for all, including the residents and the staff,” Judge Michel Chartier wrote in his report on the inquest into the March 2011 death of Frank Alexander.

Alexander, 87, was a resident of Parkview Place in downtown Winnipeg when he was pushed to the floor by fellow resident and dementia sufferer Joe McLeod, 70.

Alexander hit the back of his head and died in hospital from the resulting injuries.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/5/2015 (1363 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Manitoba judge is calling for the creation of a special unit for persons with violent and aggressive behaviour in every personal care home.

"If every (personal care home) provided a unit dedicated to these patients, there would be a significantly greater chance that these individuals would be properly cared for and that the system would be safer for all, including the residents and the staff," Judge Michel Chartier wrote in his report on the inquest into the March 2011 death of Frank Alexander.

The family of a man who died Monday night following an incident at a personal care home is demanding a provincial inquiry into the circumstances that led to his death.
- with wife Tina
"My father's death will not be in vain," the late Frank Alexander's son, Michael, said Tuesday.
"We will do all we can to bring to light issues in the system," said the Ottawa-area man who is in Winnipeg making funeral arrangements for his father. "There has to be a detailed inquiry."
His 87-year-old father was sent to hospital in critical condition Thursday after he was allegedly assaulted by a fellow Alzheimer's sufferer and resident at Parkview Place.
Joe McLeod, 70, was charged with aggravated assault.

The family of a man who died Monday night following an incident at a personal care home is demanding a provincial inquiry into the circumstances that led to his death. - with wife Tina "My father's death will not be in vain," the late Frank Alexander's son, Michael, said Tuesday. "We will do all we can to bring to light issues in the system," said the Ottawa-area man who is in Winnipeg making funeral arrangements for his father. "There has to be a detailed inquiry." His 87-year-old father was sent to hospital in critical condition Thursday after he was allegedly assaulted by a fellow Alzheimer's sufferer and resident at Parkview Place. Joe McLeod, 70, was charged with aggravated assault.

Alexander, 87, was a resident of Parkview Place in downtown Winnipeg when he was pushed to the floor by fellow resident and dementia sufferer Joe McLeod, 70.

Alexander hit the back of his head and died in hospital from the resulting injuries.

It was the second time McLeod’s violent behaviour made headlines. In October 2010, McLeod was held in the medical unit at the Winnipeg Remand Centre after assaulting his wife, Rose, whom he didn’t recognize and mistook for an intruder. With no one in the family able to take McLeod, the police had no place to put him but the remand centre, where he stayed for a month.

"... It was as if Mr. McLeod fell into a deep, dark hole as far as the health-care system was concerned," the judge wrote in his 38-page report, which included five pages of recommendations. "He was safe when in remand custody; however, he was living in a ‘box.’ "

Chartier recommended Manitoba Health develop a protocol with the departments of Justice and Corrections to accommodate people with dementia who commit criminal offences.

In McLeod’s case there was no such protocol.

It wasn’t until then-Liberal leader Jon Gerrard went public with the news that a dementia patient was being housed in remand that health officials took action. They moved him into a shared room in Parkview Place.

Someone housed in the remand centre accused of a violent crime "may well not be suitable for a regular placement in a personal care home," the judge wrote in his recommendations for preventing a death similar to Alexander’s.

He called on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and the Department of Health to work with all personal care homes to create a unit in each home for residents exhibiting violent and aggressive behaviour. They’d stand a better chance of being properly cared for and the system would be safer for all, including the residents and the staff, Chartier wrote.

The WRHA told the inquest it’s expanding the number of "special-needs-behaviour beds" for those with violent or aggressive tendencies. Chartier said it’s not enough. He heard testimony that more than 40 people in Winnipeg were on the waiting list for a "behavioural" bed with wait times taking up to a year. Chartier called that unacceptable.

"The maximum wait for such a bed should be no more than 60 days," he said. "There must be a substantial increase in the number of beds dedicated to people with violent or aggressive tendencies."

With an aging baby boom population, the number of people needing those special placements will increase "drastically," he warned.

He recommended "mandatory, uniform and ongoing" training for all staff who come into contact with care home residents — including training in dealing with violent and aggressive behaviour.

Chartier said more than half a million Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease — a number expected to double by 2030, with the number of people in long-term care increasing tenfold in the next 15 years.

"... It is evident there is a clear underappreciation of the degrees of complexities when dealing with persons with dementia generally and Alzheimer’s disease specifically," he said.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 6:38 AM CDT: Adds photo

11:38 AM: Tweaks headline.

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