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Half of caregivers of loved ones with dementia experience distress: report

Sheryl Ubelacker, The Associated Press, The National Post

TORONTO — For the last five years, Catherine Kelly and her partner have been providing live-in care for her mother, who developed vascular dementia after suffering a stroke in 2008. As parents of two small children, being caregivers is a 24-7 labour of love — but one that can be exhausting and isolating, concedes Kelly. Her mother Isabel, now 81, has end-stage dementia, which has advanced to the point where she is essentially unable to speak or move her limbs. For the first four years, Kelly and her brother had shared the care of their mother, who had been able to travel back and forth between her daughter’s home in Ottawa and her son’s in Halifax every three to five months. “But we realized in 2012 that the dementia was progressing in a way that we knew that within a year she really needed to be in one place,” said Kelly. So later that year, she and partner Wayne Walsh moved to Harbour Main, N.L., bringing her mother to live with them in Isabel’s home province.

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https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&q=https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/almost-half-of-caregivers-of-loved-ones-with-dementia-experience-distress-report&source=gmail&ust=1532010969520000&usg=AFQjCNHKAwwsgBk43cW7BjwUK3bmJ9d82Q

Brantford agency should have blown the whistle on Wettlaufer

Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

A Brantford agency that placed Elizabeth Wettlaufer at nursing homes was wrong not to notify a regulatory college after the nurse admitted she was a “recovered” alcoholic who had resumed drinking, the head of the college told a public inquiry Tuesday. “It’s a huge red flag and warning sign,” Anne Coghlan, the executive director and registrar of the College of Nurses of Ontario, testified. “It definitely (creates) a potential risk of harm (to residents).” Lifeguard Homecare of Brantford, which placed Wettlaufer in a Paris nursing home where she tried to kill a resident, should have reported the nurse’s relapse to the College, Coghlan said. “We all need to be part of the safety net and that is information the College would want to have,” she said. Her testimony comes a month after the head of Lifeguard, Heidi Wilmot Smith, was adamant she was right not to report Wettlaufer, in part because the nurse had shown good judgement in choosing to not work a shift after drinking. But that sort of medical judgement from Wilmot Smith, whose background is in sales, is not supported by evidence, Coghlan said.

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https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/brantford-agency-should-have-blown-whistle-on-wettlaufer-regulator-testifies

Questions left unanswered after night of suffering by Wettlaufer victim

Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

Staff at a Woodstock nursing home failed to ask key questions after the death of a non-diabetic resident who spent her last hours suffering from the most grotesque symptoms of plunging blood sugars, Ontario’s chief coroner told a public inquiry Tuesday. Helen Young, a veteran of the Second World War, spent her last night at Caressant Care moaning in pain, her eyes bulging, her words slurred, her legs and arms bent inward and her skin torn after she tried to escape her wheelchair and was restrained by staff. Her descent to death in July 2013 came after killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer twice injected her with large doses of insulin, each time telling Young it was pain medication. While other staff at the home would not learn of the killing spree until three years later, the way Young died should have triggered questions that were not asked, Dirk Huyer, chief coroner of Ontario, told the inquiry. “It would be worth asking more questions. . . . This is not the silent death overnight. This was a clinical change,” Huyer testified.

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https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/questions-left-unanswered-after-night-of-suffering-by-wettlaufer-victim

Ontario’s chief coroner faces scrutiny at Wettlaufer inquiry

Kate Dubinski, CBC News

The province’s chief coroner says some long-term care homes are still submitting death records by fax, instead of electronically, forcing a four-year delay in his office’s planned data analysis. Dr. Dirk Huyer said his office has been ready to analyze deaths in long-term care homes since 2014, but hasn’t been able to because death records are being sent in different formats. To analyze just the electronic records would lead to incomplete and incorrect data analysis, he said. “It defeats the purpose of an analytics model of trying to identify patterns,” Huyer said. It’s unclear if such an analysis may have found a pattern of problems with patient deaths under nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s care. 

Wettlaufer admitted to killing eight patients in southwestern Ontario by injecting them with massive amounts of insulin. The Wettlaufer inquiry, which resumed Monday after a two-week break, is hearing from the coroner’s office. It’s trying to determine what systemic problems led to Wettlaufer being able to get away with the murders undetected.

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www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/ontario-long-term-care-inquiry-elizabeth-wettlaufer-alex-van-kralingen-1.4745402https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/ontario-long-term-care-inquiry-elizabeth-wettlaufer-alex-van-kralingen-1.4745402

“We are in crisis”: Personal support workers are the backbone of home care in Ontario and there aren’t enough of them

Joanne Laucius, The Ottawa Citizen

Richard Martin slurs when he speaks. He has difficultly walking and swallowing food. He has short-term memory loss, and dementia is inevitable. Martin has Huntington’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. Until he was diagnosed in 2010, Martin had a busy east-end medical practice. Today, he is cared for by his wife, Melanie Dea, in their Rockland home.

Dea has watched the disease attack her husband’s mind and body. He needs constant attention and there’s only so much Dea can provide. And that’s a problem. Because even though Martin is entitled to five hours and 15 minutes of home care every week, provided by a personal support worker, help is hard to find in rural Ontario and many other parts of the province.

Home care has been touted as a way to keep people out of hospitals and long-term care. It costs less than institutional care, it’s better for patients and a life-saver for beleaguered caregivers like Dea. She relies on it, but her experience has been that her husband’s entitlement does not translate into reality. Sometimes he will get the hours he is entitled to, but more often it will be only an hour or two, she says. “There are so many PSWs who start and then they quit. Or they call in sick. I really need the break. I’m burned out,” says Dea. “It’s a full-time job. I get three hours of respite a week. What do I do? I go to the bank, to the grocery store.” Across Ontario, home care agencies are struggling to recruit and and retain personal support workers, known as PSWs. They get jobs right out of school, but many soon leave the field after they discover that the hours can be inconsistent, they are paid a dollar or two above minimum wage and they have to rush between appointments.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/when-the-backbone-is-broken

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