Sunday, June 11, 2017

Cold Lake Points West Living Lock-Out Post # 3----“The health and safety of our residents is the foremost priority of Points West Living. An internal investigation has been launched by our management team to review the time the resident spent at Points West Living Cold Lake.----------The family of Olga Penner – who was 85 and suffering from Alzheimer’s – say that while they were initially satisfied with the level of care she received, they feel it dropped significantly after replacement workers were brought in to replace locked out workers in a labour dispute that has been ongoing since December 16th. Penner had been at Points West since November and was pulled out of the facility shortly before she passed away. “Olga is deeply missed by the workers who used to care for her, and we have extended our condolences to the Penner family,” says AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey. “The concerns they are raising are similar to what we are hearing from other family members about the quality of care provided by replacement workers at PWL. We don’t want to hear about any more deaths that might have been prevented. We want these concerns addressed and dealt with accordingly by the province.”


Now that retribution of AUPE workers appears to be present what is next?
I mean the continuing care industry and the medical system in Alberta got away with retribution of ordinary citizens such as Ruth Adria of The Elder Advocates of Alberta Society and James Tucker of Grande Prairie because ordinary citizens have no power.
But now the industry is picking a fight with the folks at AUPE.
As far as I can tell termination of one set of workers at one facility while another group of workers is retained--is perfectly legal. I mean a corporation can do whatever it wants to do can't it? But it is interesting that this sort of action was taken in a preferential manner with the yappy workers at Cold Lake. Could this be retribution now of workers in the continuing care system as well?
If so, I am now wondering what the GOA will do --if anything. To date the NDP folks in government haven't been as friendly to the folks who helped get to them power such as families and union members. What I expect will happen is that the GOA will ignore the business and pretend that this is a private business concern and that they can't help the folks who got them to power.
Then everyone will go back to sleep.
But then won't this inform AUPE members that the NDP folks are now the NDPC folks?
Interesting times in Alberta.
I mean I knew that the NDP folks weren't interested in labour other than to ensure that they could screw them when I saw the chatter from the previous AHS CEO about the contract negotiation where the NDP folks told her to underbid. Wow. This is the NDP folks using their position to screw the very people who got them to power. If they do this to their friends--what do they do for families?
NDP politically interfered in AUPE contract negotiations
The letter details how the NDP government repeatedly interfered in contract negotiations with the AUPE both in terms of timing and the wage increase offered.
Details emerge on 4-year AUPE deal
AUPE accuses Alberta Health Services of bad-faith bargaining
AUPE miffed at latest Alberta Health Services contract offer
Alberta union president warns against cutting health care jobs to save money
Kaminski said the previous Tory government had mandated a zero per cent offer for several AUPE contracts, including general support services and auxiliary nursing staff. That caused negotiations to break down and the union filed a labour board complaint against AHS.
'We were given a mandate of one per cent per year, for three years — far less than any other union has received, far less than government gave its own employees.'- Vickie Kaminski, in her resignation letter
When the NDP took power, both sides were optimistic a fair offer would be made. But she said that never happened despite repeated attempts by herself and others.
In late October 2015, the deputy minister asked her to get everyone quickly back to the bargaining table. She said this was done based on a "promise of a reasonable mandate, akin to settlements with other unions and reflective of what we were accruing for this union's anticipated salary increase.
"The reason for getting negotiations re-established quickly was to avoid any embarrassment for (Premier Rachel Notley) when she attended the AUPE (annual general meeting) in October," she wrote.
But Kaminski said once both sides were back at the bargaining table, it became clear the NDP government would not allow AHS to make a reasonable offer.
"We were given a mandate of one per cent per year, for three years — far less than any other union has received, far less than government gave its own employees, and far less than we are accruing for wage settlements.

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The recent termination of staff at the Cold Lake Points West Living facility is very concerning. First there is the preferential treatment of these staff versus staff at another facility by this corporation. Why did the Points West Living come to an agreement with the staff at Heritage House in Vegreville but not come to a similar agreement with the staff at Cold Lake? Could it be that the public advocacy work of the staff at this facility resulted in the preferential treatment? If this is so then this is retribution.

Advocates in the continuing care system are already aware of the problems of retribution. Ruth Adria of The Elder Advocates of Alberta Society has documented cases and asked for the creation of a registry so that such cases along with POA (power of attorney) agreements are part of the public record. Such a registry would ensure that first that we have a document that indicates that banning is instigated and second--by whom in the continuing care industry and the health care system. When such tickets are part of the public record we have the ability to first track the numbers of banned individuals and also ask for the reasons for the banning to be recorded.

Making something public in this way does a lot to prevent the abuse of legislation such as the Trespass to Premises legislation as well as provides the reasoning of the corporations involved for these retribution acts. The government of Alberta should provide access to justice for banned individuals with an independent of AHS/Alberta Health appeal process. I have no faith in the internal AHS appeal process which is neither automatic or public; as such this seems to be a means of the system doing the cleansing of troublesome incidents that the system feels requires cleansing (i.e. tying up of loose ends).

Besides the registry for such banning tickets, access to justice by the amendment of the Trespass to Premises legislation there is a requirement for resident/patient rights with full access to visitation rights.  A resident or patient in the system who loses his or her advocate is vulnerable. Visitation is more than advocacy but also required for quality of life and companionship needs. It is wrong to deny vulnerable defenceless citizens access to loved family members just because the medical and continuing care system operates in a punitive rather than conciliatory fashion. It may take longer to achieve resolution of problems but the system has an obligation to do this where the most defenceless handicapped seniors are involved and to do this without any sort of junk chatter about staff safety.   I doubt very much that defenceless citizens speaking for their mothers, fathers and siblings are speaking for any other reason than love and concern. What is terrible about the banning is that the time taken away from these seniors will never be returned to them. Shauna McHarg's case is the worst possible outcome of advocacy -where you spend all your time in the maze of government to discover there is no justice for you --only a sense that the system is obsolete and refuses to evolve.

What did Shauna get for her years in trying to find out the reasons for the banning and to try to appeal it? She got nothing. The GOA under the health minister did not amend the Trespass to Premises legislation but instead the minister directed the folks at AHS to create a banning policy. What the heck? How does a banning policy resolve the inequities in the system? Well, it doesn't. That's the point. The minister has set up the system just the same way as the PCs have but it simply appears that the problem is fixed. Gotta admire Sarah Hoffman. She just set up another maze for the citizens to run for yet more years when the solution that would fix the problem is thrown away for another political party to do. I think we'll just wait until the Wildrose folks are in power and then ask for the things we're asking for here:

1) Amendment to the Trespass to Premises legislation to allow for an independent appeal process
2) Registry to publicly document all banning cases and all POA agreements.
3) Resident/ Patient rights especially with reference to the requirement for visitation rights.


http://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/alberta-health-services-directed-to-create-policy-for-banned-visitors

 

Alberta Health Services directed to create policy for banned visitors

Published on: November 17, 2015 | Last Updated: November 17, 2015 9:12 PM MDT
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Health minister on patient bans
Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says she has directed Alberta Health Services to create a province-wide policy and appeal process for people banned from visiting their family members in care facilities. Video by Mariam Ibrahim
Albertans who have been banned from visiting their family members at provincial care facilities will soon have recourse, the province’s health minister says.
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said Tuesday she has directed Alberta Health Services to create a provincewide policy outlining when people can be banned from facilities. She said the policy will include an appeal process and is expected to be in place by the end of March 2016.
“My expectation is that we develop a policy to ensure consistent practice throughout AHS facilities that really focuses on making sure that patients are safe,” Hoffman said.
The policy would apply to any operators contracted by the provincial health authority to provide care, including Covenant Health.
Hoffman said she was motivated by stories of Albertans who have been prevented from visiting family. Over the past few years, Albertans across the province have spoken out about what they say is fear of retribution from some facilities after advocating for better care.
Currently, anyone who feels they were unjustly barred from a loved one’s facility faces years of complicated appeals through Alberta Health Services Patient Relations, a process that, at best, ends with a provincial Ombudsman recommendation. But the final decision to grant access rests with the facility manager.
“Our intention is to make sure that patients are safe, staff are treated with respect and that family members have opportunities to support their family,” Hoffman said.
She said she wants to ensure transparency about why decisions are made whenever possible.
David O’Brien, vice-president of seniors health for Alberta Health Services, said he agrees a consistent policy is needed.
“I think what we have now is a fair degree of legacy policies that had been in place from previous regional health authorities, and while each one of them might be good on its own, AHS is a single organization provincially and we need to have consistency in the way our policies and processes are implemented,” he said.
Shauna McHarg, who last year cast a spotlight on the issue after she was banned by Covenant Health from visiting her parents at the Edmonton General Continuing Care Centre, was introduced in the legislature chamber by Liberal interim leader David Swann on Monday and later had the chance to speak to the health minister about her concerns.
“I think it’s wonderful that she is starting the process,” McHarg said. “She’s taking these wrongdoings very seriously and I believe she is going to ensure correction.”
mibrahim@edmontonjournal.com

Jerry Macdonald
Remember, though, that AHS, Covenant, and the art we agencies are also Employers, and have an obligation under the OH&S Code to maintain a safe workplace. However, in cases where family members are barred from facilities for legitimate reasons, privacy laws prevent them from disclosing those reasons; and yet,those who are barred are free to run to the media and give one-sided accounts.
LikeReply3Nov 18, 2015 6:50am
Julie Ali · 

Our stories are not one sided. But of course most citizens will never know our stories with the retribution faced by families up to and including lawsuits.
LikeReplyMar 9, 2017 7:43pm
Patsy Roselle
if a facility tries to prevent me from seeing a loved one who is in a long term care facility, that loved one will be moved out. Facilities don't usually ban family members unless that family member has displayed very bad behavior.
However, if the family member is complaining about care, that's another whole new ball game.
LikeReply1Nov 18, 2015 10:12am
Julie Ali · 

The recent case in Grande Prairie happened when the family complained; the father was banned for a year. The family moved the mother to the Grande Praire hospital where she is now. Seems like the banning policy isn't helpful.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1719753698039290&set=a.914175061930495.1073741827.100000140302035&type=3&theater

Stephen Tucker
April 27 ·

A VERY SAD DAY YESTERDAY!! Thanks to our justice system and to a care home in grande prairie Alberta . My dad was forced to go to court yesterday only to have him and my mom seperated once again due to my dad being my moms voice . The home banned my dad to be allowed on the property for a full year as we know it now.
LikeReply1 min
Damaris Spindler · 

hmm. I wonder just how badly theses people behaved to be barred from a facility? Complaints about care, or abusive and disruptive behaviors?
LikeReply1Nov 18, 2015 6:24am
Julie Ali · 

Actually most familiy members aren't abusive; in fact most have to be inhumanly correct so that we aren't seen as "adversarial".
It's troubling that the government has not provided for resident /patient rights to guarantee visitation for example. Without the advocate, family members who cannot speak for themselves are very vulnerable.
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Nancy A Van Valkenburgh · 

what Alberta! You are seriously hurting your patients! THEY NEED THIER LOVED ONES....to who made this absurd rule...one day it could happen to you!
Marla Creelman Kopkie · 

Alberta and all its rules...... seriously.
LikeReply1Nov 17, 2015 10:44pm


***
Although everyone was hopeful as in the case of Shauna McHarg that this would be the beginning of changes in the culture of the GOA and it's partners this has not been the case.

Meanwhile it is once you're banned you're banned in Alberta.
And in the case of the Cold Lake Points West Living staff, I have the feeling that once you're fired --you're fired as well.
Retribution--thy name is Alberta continuing care system.
Now that the staff have been terminated I am curious what the GOA will do to in this case? Staff were bringing up issues that need to be addressed and now that they seem to have faced retribution that effectively silences them from raising these issues I am wondering what the role of government is in both the labour dispute resolution as well as with reference to the care concerns raised by this family.


Alberta Health Services has opened a file on Points West Living Cold Lake and the facility has launched an internal investigation of ... more ›
MYLAKELANDNOW.COM

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http://www.mylakelandnow.com/8850/ahs-investigating-points-west-living-resident-dies-hospital/

AHS INVESTIGATING POINTS WEST LIVING AFTER FORMER RESIDENT DIES IN HOSPITAL



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Alberta Health Services has opened a file on Points West Living Cold Lake and the facility has launched an internal investigation of their own after a former resident died in hospital shortly after being removed from the facility.
The family of Olga Penner – who was 85 and suffering from Alzheimer’s – say that while they were initially satisfied with the level of care she received, they feel it dropped significantly after replacement workers were brought in to replace locked out workers in a labour dispute that has been ongoing since December 16th. Penner had been at Points West since November and was pulled out of the facility shortly before she passed away.
“Olga is deeply missed by the workers who used to care for her, and we have extended our condolences to the Penner family,” says AUPE vice-president Mike Dempsey. “The concerns they are raising are similar to what we are hearing from other family members about the quality of care provided by replacement workers at PWL. We don’t want to hear about any more deaths that might have been prevented. We want these concerns addressed and dealt with accordingly by the province.”
Dempsy claims families of patients have reported to picketing staff cases of diapers not being changed in a timely fashion, not turning over immobile patients in their beds and replacement staff not interacting with seniors in a sociable manner. “I can’t speak one on one for the folks they’ve hired, but we believe it is not a standard of care our members would provide.”
A search of Alberta Health’s website shows that the facility has been found non-compliant in the last seven government inspections dating back to November 3rd.
Points West Living has released a statement of their own. “As reported in media, a patient at the Cold Lake Healthcare Centre who was briefly a member of our facility has passed away.
“We wish to express our sincere condolences to the family on their loss.
“To protect the privacy of the individual, the details of the short time they spent at Points West Living Cold Lake cannot be disclosed.
“The health and safety of our residents is the foremost priority of Points West Living. An internal investigation has been launched by our management team to review the time the resident spent at Points West Living Cold Lake.
“Points West Living has also welcomed an external investigation by Alberta Health Services (AHS.) We will cooperate fully with AHS.

“To ensure the integrity of these investigations, we are unable to provide further comment at this time.”

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Julie Ali · 

I also note that the government of Alberta does not make the Quality Audits, the CCHSS audits or the AHS audits public. Why not? We don't hear about the Protection for Persons in Care audits either.

Only the accommodation audits are put up for a short time and taken down.

Should we not have the audits investigating the care concerns up as well? This is done in Ontario. Why not in Alberta?

http://publicreporting.ltchomes.net/.../Search_Selection...

Reports on Long-Term Care Homes
Julie Ali · 

The lack of compliance is concerning. Why haven't the outstanding issues been dealt with? Why is the facility non-compliant and why has the government tolerated this situation?
http://standardsandlicensing.alberta.ca/detail_page.html...
Bonnie Gostola
Is this the same management team that allowed this client to die under extremely mysterious circumstances in the first place. Or the ones who condone second class care in the facility, not sure I would have much faith in the conclusions they reach!
LikeReply3Feb 17, 2017 6:29pm
E. Anne Koehler · 

Perhaps we should wait to hear the facts before blame is laid. What kind of demands were AUPE / the employer making to lead to breakdown in negotiations and workers being locked out. Sad to think both sides using residents to get what they want.
LikeReply1Feb 18, 2017 10:04am
Julie Ali · 

I don't think the staff are using residents to "get what they want". If you have family in the continuing care system you may notice problems in meeting the standards of care. When families raise issues there are problems with retribution--eviction of residents, refusal to take them back from hospital, banning of advocates so that family members cannot see the residents in the facilty as well as lawsuits for public discourse on problems.

You might wonder why anyone would bother to raise any issues in public. Families are doing this due to the lack of interest by the health authorities as well as the ministry (Alberta Health). The only way that responsive intervention occurs is when media attention is raised. In this particular case, it is my opinion that these staff members had no other way to raise working issues. Why were they terminated while another Points West Facility has it's contract ratified? It's concerning that the Points West Living corporation can arbritarily dismiss a group of workers for what appears to be public airing of issues at the facility at Cold Lake. I mean what other reason would there be for the corporation to terminate one group of people who work for them while retaining another group?

http://www.labour-reporter.com/.../33614-points-west.../

The decision to terminate the Cold Lake workers comes on the heels of a settlement of a collective agreement with AUPE at Points West Living’s Heritage House in Vegreville, which maintained provisions to deter the practice of “working short,” or not replacing staff absent in the case of vacation or illness, said the union.
*******

This sort of preferential termination of staff appears to be retribution of the sort that families are well aware of. The GOA is also well aware of these retribution tactics of the continuing care system and appear to be able to use the stick to rein in the industry partners when it wishes to do this. For example in my handicapped sister's case of eviction, the folks at Alberta Health told us that they could restore her to her original placement if we simply stopped communicating our concerns in public. Now this is puzzling. We live in a democracy. Why would the public communications of our dissatisfaction of the retribution tactics of the continuing care industry be seen as problematic by the government of Alberta? Why would Alberta Health not simply restore her to her original placement if it had the power to do this without impacting our rights to public discourse?

Who does government represent in Alberta? Surely it is the second class citizens in the continuing care system who -like the folks in the health care system lack any sort of resident/patient rights much less the right to visitation. For example. in a recent banning case in Grande Prairie we have the advocate (the dad) banned from seeing his wife (the mum) for a year. No one says this is a problem. The court enforces the banning which is fully legal due to the PCs creation of the Trespass to Premises legislation with no sort of independent appeal process for the banned person. Basically if you are banned, that's that.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1719753698039290&set=a.914175061930495.1073741827.100000140302035&type=3&theater
Stephen Tucker
April 27 ·

A VERY SAD DAY YESTERDAY!! Thanks to our justice system and to a care home in grande prairie Alberta . My dad was forced to go to court yesterday only to have him and my mom seperated once again due to my dad being my moms voice . The home banned my dad to be allowed on the property for a full year as we know it now.
*****************

Why did the Tories do this sort of Russian legislation? I guess because they could do this and continuing care providers and health care facilities wanted a hammer to use on yappy advocates. Why doesn't the NDP folks in government amend the legislation to allow for a public appeal? I guess they want the same hammer.

Things are not all they appear as per the news. You've got to be in the continuing care system with it's interesting variations in service provision to understand that the system as a whole is pretty much in chaos and sometimes we get to see the reality behind the spin of good performance at some places. I mean not all places are poorly performing but certainly we don't get to hear of the problems because we're the folks who pay for the system and don't deserve to see the CCHSS audits that would tell us the real story of care.
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