UPDATE: Elderly woman transferred from Corner Brook hospital to Stephenville Crossing

Cory Hurley cory.hurley@tc.tc
Published on January 15, 2014
Western Memorial Regional Hospital.
Geraldine Brophy

CORNER BROOK  Despite her family’s efforts to stop it, Alice Hinks has been transferred from Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook to Stephenville Crossing for her continued care.

Hinks, who turns 90 later this month, was moved from acute care at Western Memorial, where she was on a wait list for a long-term care bed, to the Bay St. George Long Term Care facility this morning. Due to a shortage of beds at Western Memorial, it was decided Hinks would be transferred to free up a bed for emergency or surgical patients.

Her son, Todd Hinks, and his family are worried the move to another facility in another part of western Newfoundland would be difficult mentally for the Deer Lake woman. He said his mother has a history of severe anxiety, claustrophobia and panic attacks. She becomes overwhelmed when strangers are in her room, and has family members visiting her to provide comfort on a daily basis.

The move to Stephenville Crossing will take that away from her.

Hinks, who just arrived in Stephenville Crossing early this afternoon, said his mother was medicated for the transfer. He was about to visit her to see how she was doing.

His focus is now on getting her back to Corner Brook as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Lorraine Michaels called the situation a sad reflection of the state of senior care in the province.

“I was appalled to hear that it is considered normal for an appreciable percentage of the beds in Western Memorial Hospital to be regularly occupied by people who should really be in other facilities,” Michael stated in a press release.

The leader said there is a crisis in senior care which government refuses to address with any kind of comprehensive plan.

“The eventual solution will include a mix of adequate home care, accessible and affordable housing, personal care homes and long-term care facilities,” Michael stated.

 

Previous story...

 

CORNER BROOK  Right down to the last hour, Todd Hinks is fighting to keep his elderly and ailing mother in hospital in Corner Brook.

Alice Hinks is scheduled to be transferred from Western Memorial Regional Hospital to the Bay St. George Long Term Care in Stephenville Crossing this morning at about 11 a.m.

The Deer Lake woman who turns 90 later this month has been in an acute-care bed for about a year, and is now on a wait list for a long-term care bed. Due to lack of space at Western Memorial, it was decided Hinks would be transferred to this facility to free up a bed for emergency or surgical patients.

Todd said his mother was determined a suitable patient to move because of her physical care needs, but feels her mental well-being is being ignored. He said she has a history of severe anxiety, claustrophobia and panic attacks. She becomes overwhelmed when strangers are in her room, and has family members visiting her to provide comfort on a daily basis.

The move to Stephenville Crossing will take that away from her.

“When we broke the news to her, she broke down and cried,” Hinks said.

He said hospital administrators are preaching “policy, policy, policy,” but he said they are not considering the bigger picture. He is concerned his mother may not survive the transfer or suffer irreparable complications.

“I would not be surprised if she suffered a mini-stroke because of this,” he said. “I told (hospital administration) that it is like they are pushing her out to pasture. I told them it is like they have a licence to kill.”

He said the family also had the option to take her home, but that they do not consider that a viable alternative.

Hinks, and the rest of his family, are continuing to lobby to stop the transfer. He has asked for her to stay where she is or be transferred to a long-term care bed in Corner Brook. He said he has been told she is sixth on the wait list for a long-term care bed, and there is no timeframe for how long she would be at the Bay St. George Long-Term Care before there is an opening.

They have contacted a number of politicians, including the leaders of the Liberal Party and New Democratic Party, Dwight Ball and Lorraine Michael, who he said are looking into the matter in their behalf. With the time ticking down to her transfer, he is just hoping it gets overturned.

“We have our fingers crossed, just praying for some kind of miracle,” he said. “We are hoping somebody comes through for us.”

For Tuesday's story, click here.