Support for senior falls short

Ann Roberts' hand

MPP’s office, LHIN promise immediate

response to investigate complaint


By Joanne McDonald

For NewsNow

Anne Roberts’ request was pretty straightforward. The 81-year old Grimsby woman fell last month, shattered her hand and needed short term assistance to cope at home.

Instead, the January 18 accident marked the start of a discouraging search to find help. It’s been tough to hear, “we don’t do that,” “you are not incapacitated” or “there are private options for care, $28 per hour with a three-hour minimum.”

Roberts may have fallen through the cracks in not receiving a referral for care following her surgery but she was in pain, knew she needed help, and navigated her own frightening and frustrating journey to  find it.

Roberts had a nasty fall and was taken by ambulance to West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. An X-ray was done and Roberts’ hand was put in a cast. Jan. 22 she attended a consultation with a surgeon at McMaster Hospital. Jan. 31 she returned to hospital for day-surgery to have pins put in her hand. Feb. 19 she is scheduled to return to Mac to have the pins removed.

While Roberts’ husband Laurie, 78, is still working,  he aged out of his union’s health coverage benefits at age 70.

Roberts called the 1-800 number for the LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) and said she was told they could not provide short-term services, and that if they did get somebody out to do an assessment it could be months before she would receive help. She was given referrals for private service providers. What was most upsetting for Roberts was being told she was not incapacitated as she still had the use of two legs and one hand.

Roberts called Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s office and said she was not given any direction. “The woman didn’t take my name but talked  about the debt load in health care.”

One service provider said they could not assist her as they were booked solid and had no (PSW) staff available.

A second service provider said the cost was $28 per hour with a three-hour minimum.

“I cannot be the only person needing short term help. I couldn’t understand the answers I was getting.”

“I paid into healthcare all my life,” said Roberts who worked as an accountant. “I was horrified that when I called places I couldn’t get help.”

Both Oosterhoff and Donna Cripps, CEO of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN responded immediately to the concern brought Monday to their attention.

Oosterhoff called NewsNow directly to say he would help Roberts in any way he can. In a followup email, executive assistant Crystal Mason said, “we have spoken with Mrs. Roberts and will see how we can be of assistance.”

In a response from the LHIN, Cripps said, “The experience Mrs. Roberts had with the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network was unfortunate and we will be contacting her directly to further discuss her current care needs.”

“While there is a standard referral process for post-operative care, every patient is unique and that must always be taken into account. In general, surgical patients who will need assistance once they leave hospital are referred by either their surgeon or a member of the hospital clinical team to the hospital discharge planning team and/or the Home and Community care team,” Cripps said.

“While the patient is still in hospital, the discharge planner or care coordinator will meet with the patient to discuss the type of services that may be needed to help them with their care needs at home. ”


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