Friday, April 27, 2012
Could this be you?
One of British Columbia's health authorities is disregarding the legal rights of Jean Wilder, a 60-year-old wife and mother of two. She was transferred to a residential care facility to recuperate from surgical complications. However, she is now being held there against her will, kept isolated from her family and friends, and prevented from seeing a lawyer. And, incredibly, the government has seized control of her real estate assets! All of this is being done without due process, without formal notification to Jean Wilder or her family, and above all, with NO explanation or justification.
A news release from SENIORS AT RISK explaining Jean Wilder's story is below
Sadly, this is not an uncommon experience across BC and elsewhere in Canada. The Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK has compiled documented evidence of numerous cases where seniors' rights, freedoms and assets have been improperly and illegally expropriated by provincial governments and health authorities. Families hope that care homes will somehow enhance the final years of life for their loved ones. Sometimes that happens, but too often, the opposite happens. We assume an individual's legal and human rights are protected but, in practice, they often just aren't.
This could very possibly happen to your family member... or to you! – Regardless of age, family status, income level or geographic region. Do you have family in care? How long might it be before you're there? To see someone in the bewildering, frightening and seemingly helpless predicament that Jean Wilder and her family are in now brings out our compassion, and we hope yours too.
What can you do? Please speak up to help restore Jean Wilder's rights and freedoms.
Individual families on their own cannot overcome the inertia and power of government agencies. With or without a lawyer, the task is too daunting for seniors and families to handle on their own. They need our moral support, and the collective strength of our voices behind them. So all we ask is a few minutes of your time to send a letter or email to the government officials who are responsible for residential care facilities and the conduct of public officials.
Just send a letter along with the News Release describing Jean Wilder’s plight to the government officials identified on the Webpage at this link. You can also send a letter to your own MLA or anyone else that you think should be informed about this situation.
Oh, and one more thing, please let other people know. People need to know that this is happening.
This is your opportunity to help Jean Wilder and her family, and in turn, help us all avoid a similar fate. Taking a little time to read what has happened to Jean Wilder could pay back big dividends if (when) you or your family have to navigate the senior health care system.
Our health, freedoms and security are at stake if we don’t stand up against this disturbing trend.
The Coalition to Support SENIORS AT RISK
The following is the press release sent out by the Coalition to Support Seniors at Risk
The Coalition to Support Seniors at RiskN e w s R e l e a s e
Residential care facility and Interior Health Authority deny family & lawyer access to 60 year old woman
April 25, 2012 . Invermere, BC.
Jean Wilder, a 60 year ]old wife and mother recently transferred to an Invermere residential care facility following surgery, is being denied the right by the Interior Health Authority to have visits by family and friends. Her family insists she is being kept in the care facility without due process, and against her will.
The care facility, Columbia House, and Interior Health Authority (IHA) are refusing to recognize legal authority held by the family, refusing to provide information, and refusing to permit Mrs. Wilder to have access to a lawyer. The facility did not obtain the consent of Mrs. Wilder or any legal representative to be admitted to Columbia House.
She is being held against her will, and against our wishes say her family, husband Curtis Wilder, daughter Trina Wilder and her partner Marc Normand, and son Tim Wilder. She wants out, so we intend on fulfilling her wishes, h Normand said.
Family members say they were told by the IHA that Mrs. Wilder had to go into the care facility following post ]operative complications because there were no other places or services for her. The situation deteriorated a few weeks after Jean was admitted to Columbia House when the care facility demanded pre ]authorized payment of fees but refused to provide information about fees charged. Marc Normand, the family member who holds Jean Wilder fs Power of Attorney (POA), refused to sign the contract without first receiving that information.
Trying to get a list of all possible charges Jean could face was the start of all our trouble. I couldn ft understand why it is a big deal, says Normand. I need copies of all charges before they occur, as outlined in the Residents f Bill of Rights. While in her (assisted living) apartment, we had a full list of all possible charges that could be charged and debited from her account. Normand, who had already been paying Mrs. Wilders fees as the bills were presented, says the care facility and health authority then suddenly refused to accept his POA. Shortly thereafter, the family says the care facility refused to provide Jean s medications that she needed to take while on outings away from the facility. Then the staff banned visits by family and friends altogether. No reasons were given. The family felt they were being stone walled . In an attempt to resolve the impasse, Trina
Wilder and Marc Normand and family friends filed formal complaints with the IHA and the Ombudspersons office. However, despite being identified as urgent, these complaints were merely put into a queue, to be addressed at some later point. Desperately seeking more immediate help, the family contacted local media. The Invermere Valley Echo interviewed the Regional Director for Residential Care Services for
Interior Health Karen Bloemink to ask why the family was being denied access. Bloemink said We have an investigation going on related to this resident s personal safety... but I can t give you details.
However, Bloemink s statement is contradicted by a response by Columbia House Site Manager Sharon Carroll when she was telephoned by Jean s son Tim Wilder who lives in the Lower Mainland. When he asked Ms. Carroll why his mother fs family and friends were being denied visits with his mother, she told him that access was being denied because the staff were frightened of the family. The family had threatened staff. The Wilder family and friends strongly deny these allegations, saying they were actually complimented by staff for being calm and patient . The situation quickly escalated. The Public Guardian & Trustee s (PGT) office sent an email to
Marc Normand saying that Jean should not be seeing lawyers or signing any type of documentation...(which includes a Representation Agreement). Then, without officially informing either the family or Jean Wilder, the care facility and the Interior Health Authority advised the PGT that they have reason to believe that Mrs. Wilder is incapable of handling her affairs .
However, just weeks before, Jean Wilder had visited a lawyer who assessed her as being legally capable of appointing someone to be her health care representative, and had drawn up a representation agreement for her. However, Columbia House staff prevented the lawyer from entering the facility to have Mrs. Wilder sign the document. Then The Public Guardian & Trustee . apparently also without providing any official notice to the family or having followed necessary procedures to obtain approval claimed they had assumed legal authority for Jean Wilder. In a letter to Land Titles, the PGT states that they had been asked gby IHA to take protective measures with regard to her assets . The PGT said they had been told by Columbia House and by the Interior Health Authority that Jean Wilder is likely incapable . However to date, over a month later, the IHA and the PGT have still not presented any medical opinion to support their claim that Mrs. Wilder is likely incapable. Yet her property, jointly owned with her husband, is encumbered by a lien placed by the PGT. She is not permitted access to a lawyer, and her designated POA is not permitted to act, or even see her. Mrs. Wilder remains in Columbia House, and is under increasingly restrictive actions against her and her family. They worry about her care and well being, including whether she is being overmedicated.
Shortly after she was sent to Columbia House, Jean Wilder requested that her family be provided with her medical information. The family also requested information, specifically Mrs. Wilder fs Care Plan and Medication List. The care facility refused to provide any medical information to either Jean Wilder or her family. After the dispute about pre authorized payment, the care facility refused to provide medication for Mrs. Wilder to take with her on trips outside the facility as had been done before. As a result, Mrs. Wilder was effectively prevented from going out because the family felt it wasn t safe to do so without her medication.
After the family protested the ban on visits, the care facility permitted just Mrs. Wilder fs daughter to visit, but only under very restricted terms: no private visits are allowed (a guard is present at all times), and the visits must take place outside of her mother fs room. No one except staff is permitted to even enter Jean Wilder s room. No reasons or explanations have been given. Family members say that Jean Wilder told them gone of the staff threatened me, telling me
If you keep on asking to leave here, we are not going to let you see your daughter again. In a formal complaint filed with the IHA, daughter Trina Wilder asks in bewilderment and distress:
Why are we finding Mom crying and looking for someone to help her go to the bathroom? Why are all the staff and managers banning us for trying to help Mom? My Mom wants Marc, and wants to know why he is not coming in. I refuse to lie to Mom about what is happening, and she said Take me out of here . My Mom wants and needs Marc to help her. My mom, me and my brother and dad all agree that Marc has the skills to handle mom s business. . Why, when we are trying to talk to Mom about her business, are staff members interrupting us? WHY? WHY? WHY?
Interior Health promised the Wilder family information by April 20, 2012. They have not contacted the family or provided any further information as of the date of this News Release. Documents referred to here can be viewed at www.seniorsatrisk.org
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