After her father lost his leg while in Fraser Health’s care, Ashley Paine wants to hold the health authority accountable.
She also wants to warn others to make sure they stubbornly advocate for their loved ones who are in health care facilities.
Her father Tom Paine suffered a stroke on July 8 of last year. He fell in the bathroom, and his wife Faye had to break the door down to get to him. By the time paramedics arrived he was able to walk to an ambulance, and was “talking and joking and being himself.”
But he suffered more, smaller strokes, and was taken to intensive care at Ridge Meadows Hospital. He had almost no movement in his left hand or left leg. He also needed a feeding tube, due to a threat of asphyxiation. Ashley said a doctor suggested comfort care, which is end-of-life care, even though Tom was just 67.
They noticed bruising on his toes, and small scratches. Ashley voiced her concern, so they took X-rays. They found no breaks, and determined to use iodine on the scratches.
He was transferred from Ridge Meadows to Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster. She said the family had little option but to accept the transfer, because they could not meet his care needs at home. On Oct. 8 he was transferred to Queen’s Park.
Despite the family repeatedly expressing concerns about the bruising on his feet, it was only at a late stage that doctors discovered it was caused by gangrene.
It had spread, and on Dec. 7 he was transferred to Royal Columbian hospital, where his right leg was amputated below the knee. A week later he was back at Queen’s Park.
It was a terrible ordeal, being crippled by stroke and amputation. Because of COVID-19 regulations, Tom was not able to see his family, and became despondent. Doctors put him on anti-depressants.
He was not even assisted to speak on the phone to family, said Ashley.
“The one time we talked to him, they had him in a room with Christmas carols blaring, and him in tears,” she remembered.
On Jan. 15, 2021 he was finally transferred to Baillie House, which is attached to Ridge Meadows Hospital. Faye comes to see him a couple of times a day, and often brings a family member with him. On May 27 they celebrated his 68th birthday.
“He loves it there, and the staff is awesome,” said Ashley.
His spirits are rising, but he gets emotional when recalling his time at Queen’s Park.
“He says it was like a prison,” she said.
Ashley started a social media group for victims of elderly care homes, and said she has received three complaints about Queen’s Park, including two more from Maple Ridge residents.
“Nothing is going to change for my dad now,” she said. Noting he is confined to a wheelchair. “They could have just amputated a couple of his toes.”
Based on her father’s experiences, she wants an investigation into the quality of care at Queen’s Park, where she saw “a lack of compassion for seniors.”
“We are troubled to hear about the concerns this person’s family has raised about their care experience at one of our facilities,” said Fraser Health spokesperson Curtis Harling. “Our top priority is always the health and safety of our patients and ensuring the appropriate course of action is taken for any medical treatment they require.”
The health authority refuses to speak about specific cases, citing patient confidentiality. However, he said processes as they apply to communicating with residents and their families were followed in this case.
Facilities always work with the patient and their family to update them on a care plan, communicate with family members to discuss their concerns, said Harling.
“We encourage family members to contact the facility directly if they have concerns about their loved one’s care. However, if they believe their concerns have not been satisfactorily addressed, they can contact Fraser Health’s Patient Care Quality Office, which acts as a central access point for complaints that have not been addressed at the service delivery level. Since the family raised their concerns with us, site leadership has engaged with them to hear their concerns.”
He said Fraser Health staff in long term care facilities have been doing their best to support family members to virtually connect with their loved ones. For those who are unable to visit their loved ones in person, they arrange virtual care conferences with families/residents, physicians, social workers, resident care coordinators, and others as needed for all residents.
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