Province reacts to accidental death, inquest
Reposted from a story written on June 29, 2012 by Ben Ingram
After a coroner’s inquest into the accidental death of 76-year-old Joan Andrews made nine recommendations to improve conditions, Social Development minister Stephanie Cadieux reacted to calls for a more accountable Community Living BC (CLBC).
“My sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of Ms. Andrews. We appreciate the Coroner’s work on bringing these recommendations forward, and we are taking a serious look to determine what actions we can take,” Cadieux said.
The inquest was held between June 11 and 15 before coroner Matthew Brown.
Andrews died Feb. 10, 2011, as a consequence of a blunt force injury to the right side of her head. She had fallen out of bed and her death was found to be accidental.
The jury’s nine recommendations to CLBC included the implementation of a training program for home care providers.
Another major theme on the list was a call to amend current standards and increase the frequency of home visits.
“We want all individuals supported by CLBC to feel safe, secure and respected, and these recommendations will be helpful to make sure this is the case,” said Cadieux, who was unable to arrange an interview, but relayed a statement through a ministry official.
Her opponent, Social Development critic Nicholas Simons, said he was “shocked” that a formal training program for homecare providers had yet to materialize.
The Powell River – Sunshine Coast MLA accused the government of recruiting home care providers from Craigslist — a popular, anonymous classified listings website.
“Even foster parents who take in your typical child, and in most cases have kids of their own, have to take specialized training,” he argued.
Simons said the blame rested with leadership and he called for an external review of CLBC.
When asked if he thought government could get adequate value for the money it has spent on Community Living, Simons argued that “the government is responsible for ensuring they are getting the results they want.
“The people who work in the Community Living sector are the lowest paid public workers and when one sees the responsibilities they have, we know their work, while rewarding in many ways, is often difficult,” he said.
One such worker is Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living (SCACL) executive director Glen McLughan.
With experience dating back to as early as 1974, McLughan has not only witnessed the birth and evolution of group homes in this province, he helped create the first ones.
“We did that with no money. I went out and worked as an apprentice bricklayer and brought my pay cheque home, pooled our money and brought people out of institutions,” he said.
One of those institutions was New Westminster’s Woodlands Psychiatric Hospital.
Around 1988, McLughan was given “a key to a rented house and a cheque to open up a bank account,” before he brought three patients from Woodlands to their new home.
To make ends meet and provide for those he had become responsible for, McLughan was forced to turn to his mother for supplies, raiding her kitchen for things like pots and pans.
McLughan has taken aim at the Crown corporation model, which he argued has only served to politicize the CLBC leadership.
More opportunities for responsibility and accountability would be had if services were to be provided directly through a ministry, like Children and Family Development or Social Development, he said.
“I provide hard service on the ground to people in need, so I don’t really care how I get contracts,” said McLughan, who shared his personal opinion on the matter. “Give me the resources to serve the people who want service from me.”
Mia’s thoughts- Here’s a thought British Columbia, Close disgusting centers like the Pearson center and put stricter controls and others and bring their standards into the 21st century. Make sure any person who works in home care actually knows what the hell they’re doing and when deaths or injury happen investigate with intelligence and the law not a broom and a rug. Maybe then you’ll be surprised when things run efficiently they cost less!