PYNN’S BROOK — A Pynn’s Brook couple wants answers about home modifications they say were done through Western Regional Health and the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation to help them cope with a medical situation.
Patrick and Jessie Flynn received two grants, totaling about $10,500, for a home modification after 77-year-old Jessie suffered a stroke in 2011. The stroke left her unable to use her left arm and leg.
Now using a wheelchair, Jessie needed items installed in the couple’s home such as a new bathtub, rails on the sink and toilet, and other related items to help with her physical challenges.
In the fall of 2012, two workers who, as the Flynns understood were sent by Western Regional Health, spent six weeks installing the necessary items. But the couple realized shortly after that the work was “substandard.”
“They looked like they were ready to go to town with it, they had the tools for the job, they looked like they knew what they were doing,” said Patrick, wiggling a loose board around a door that could not be tightened because a stud was removed from the wall during the modification and never replaced.
“They were very respectful with me, they were nice fellows, they even brought me coffee and cinnamon buns one morning. But look around here — we can’t have this.”
Problems with the home modification are many. The front door does not close properly and the house’s heating system hasn’t worked well since the workers were there in October. The kitchen floor is not level anymore, which causes the wheelchair to roll at inopportune times.
The accessible tub drains slowly, and the Flynns say they have to pack towels at its edge when they use it.
Water pressure out of the showerhead is limited. Rails were not installed around the sink, and the rail that was installed at the side of the toilet was placed at the left. That doesn’t work for Jessie who lost the use of her left arm.
Patrick said the two contractors were sent out by the hospital system in September after he and his wife discussed the situation with a social worker at the Western Regional Memorial Hospital, even though a hospital spokesperson said the facility does not deal with contractors directly.
The grants came from the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. Executive director Dennis Kendall said he is aware of the Flynns case, but could not discuss it because of privacy issues.
Kendall did say that the corporation does not choose or “send out” contractors, but leaves that decision up to the homeowners.
After the work is done, homeowners can submit the invoices. If recipients aren’t happy with the work, he said, funding can be made available to correct mistakes.
“We offer them advice, realizing they may need advice, but we do not recommend contractors for obvious reasons,” he said. “The program has worked well but there have been times when contractors have not been above-board, and sometimes the homeowners have not been above board. It works both ways.”
For now, the Flynns say they will wait and see what happens, and will continue to try and get the mistakes fixed.