Cape Breton woman on 'emergency' list has been waiting since July to get into long-term care
A family with an elderly mother who has been on an emergency placement for a long-term care bed since July has been told staffing shortages are causing the delay.
Rhonda Veniot lives in British Columbia, but on Wednesday was in Port Hawkesbury to care for her 78-year-old mother, who has a rare disorder.
"I have been home from B.C. for a year and a half helping my 80-year-old father, who has Parkinson's, try to look after her and we are doing the work our system says it's not able to do," Veniot said.
The family has been declined respite at the Port Hawkesbury nursing home and at a long-term care facility in Inverness because her mother's needs are too high for staffing levels at both places.
"It's incredibly stressful," Veniot said. "I'm watching my dad's symptoms progressing faster than they should be."
Veniot says her mother has a rare neurological disorder, called progressive supranuclear palsy, that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements. She also has frequent moments of being confused and most every night is very agitated and only sleeps about two hours in every 24-hour period.
"I'm telling people we can no longer cope at home, that we can't get a long-term care bed," Veniot said. "Then, we've been advised to go to the hospital leave my mother at emergency and tell them we can no longer look after her and I, in good conscience, can't do that to my father."
Allan MacMaster, the MLA for the area, says he's willing to help the family out and received a phone call at his office last week, but has since reached out to local health care representatives to find out more.
"We've not had a lot of time to try and help," MacMaster said. "I first became aware of this last week."
Veniot says she's been told there are long-term care beds available in the area, but there is not enough staff to be assigned to them.
"My father is a veteran, my mother was a volunteer in this community, they raised their children, their grandchildren and to think this is what their end of life looks like is heartbreaking," Veniot said.
The family is pleading with the province and the premier to follow through on his promises to fix health care, and says coming up with a solution in a year or two does not help them now.