Senior evicted by special care home
By David Kelly
Kings County Record
07 Feb 2012 03:06AM
HAMPTON—Wayne Leaman was stunned when he learned the special care home where his aging mother had been living for four years was going to evict her. “It was total shock,” he said.
Wayne Leaman has since found a new facility where his mother, 90-year-old Louise Leaman, has settled in but he feels the situation was mismanaged and he still doesn’t fully understand why she was asked to leave. Jean Cronin, the owner of Clearview Seniors Home in Hampton where Louise Leaman had been living, declined to comment on the matter and referred queries to the Department of Social Development Tuesday. 

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Development said operators of special care homes, which are licenced by but not owned by the provincial government, must follow a standards and procedures manual for adult residential facilities. Though she couldn’t comment about specific situations because of privacy concerns, Judy Cole said the department will mediate when there is a need to resolve any kind of dispute.
“We would always try to work toward a solution,” she said. “Discharging a client is a last resort.”
There are 420 special care homes in New Brunswick, and of their 5,400 residents 3,600 of them are seniors.

Wayne Leaman said he was notified by a case worker, to which each individual living in special care home is assigned, that Cronin had explained that they were going to evict his mother when he called to inquire about a medication-related matter.His wife was handed a letter on Jan. 25 that outlined as much but the only explanation offered was that the home could “no longer accommodate” his mother, who is hard of hearing and recovering from eye surgery. 

He said he did have a discussion with the home’s operator around the middle of January about difficulties staff were having administering his mother’s eye drops and getting her to the dinner table. If she had been violent and there was a safety or health concern, Wayne Leaman said he would understand the home’s position. 

And though he explained his mother isn’t afraid to speak her mind, he certainly would never classify her as someone the home would have difficulty dealing with.
“Special care homes should be more compassionate and more caring,” he said. “At age 90 you don’t move as fast as you used to.”
Wayne Leaman is also critical of the Department of Social Development. He said he received a list of special care homes that could accommodate his mother, who had been a life-long resident of Riverview before moving to Hampton, after she had been asked to leave Clearview but that was the extent of the contact he’s had with them. He said at no time was there any kind of mediation involved to find an alternate solution.

The notice Wayne Leaman was given said his mother had until the end of February to find an alternate living arrangement, which is longer than the minimum 15 days required by the Department of Social Development’s standards and procedures manual but still a point of contention for both himself and the executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights.

Cecile Cassista said she has received notice that the information she received from Wayne Leaman she passed on to the Department of Social Development would be forwarded on the minister, Sue Stultz. She calls what Louise Leaman was put through “horrible.”“Evicting people is not the answer,” Cassista said. She emphasized the need to show residents and/or their families “just cause” when a senior is asked to leave a special care home, something the department said it is looking at requiring special care home operators to do in the event of a discharge.

Ideally, though, Cassista would like to see a system like that in P.E.I., a recommendation she made to the minister in September of last year. “In Prince Edward Island, both public and private facilities manage intakes, transfers and discharges through a unified admissions committee where an operator may bring issues with problem residents to an admissions committee if the facility is unable to arrange a workable agreement between the resident and the operator. 

If the committee is in agreement, the resident is placed on a transfer list to a suitable alternative facility,” Cassista wrote in the submission. Like Cole, the president of the New Brunswick Special Care Home Association said she was not at liberty to discuss specific situations, but Jan Seely said there’s always an attempt on the part of special care homes to make a situation work because cause for eviction doesn’t suddenly spring up overnight. “As operators...when we open our doors to care for people, you don’t just make it difficult for someone, and I would assume no less in this situation,” Seely said.