My mother, Elaine Grant has lived in what is now called Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General Hospital) for eight years. The Complex Continuing Care Unit, or “J5” is her home. Approximately two weeks ago everyone on J5 was informed that the unit is to be closed. In other words, all of its residents have to move. We are devastated. My Mom has described the feeling as “living in a nightmare”. I want the hospital’s upper management and the Ministry of Health to hear our story because their decision, which at least appears to be rooted in saving dollars, impacts real people with very complex needs.

My daughter does not remember her Gran being able to walk. She is turning fourteen. This is because in 2004 my Mom had a benign tumour removed from the base of her brainstem. We were warned that this surgery threatened to do what the tumour might if left alone. With time we could see how this warning proved true: Mom lost her gag reflex and so is tube fed, has a tracheotomy so that her lungs can be routinely suctioned, and is paralyzed. Over the years, including as recent as this spring, she has struggled with infection that leads to the need for intensive care and ventilator intervention.

In the letter that we received from the hospital and at a recent family meeting, we were encouraged to consider moving our loved one “into the community”, meaning a home situation supported by CCAC. Hear me when I say, had home care ever been a feasible option, we would have pursued it. However, my Mom’s level of acuity is such that a hospital setting is her only option. Even nursing homes do not offer the care that she requires. And just so you know, my husband’s Multiple Sclerosis is forcing us to equip our house in such a way that will enable us to stay in it for as long as possible. We believe in the value of CCAC.

The move to J5 eight years ago came after a long wait. After two years we were told the waiting list was to be scrapped. This resulted in a letter to our MPP and weekly phone calls to the hospital social worker. At the time we understood the need to close a waiting list. What we could not comprehend was cutting off those who had been patiently and exclusively waiting for a bed at Michael Garron Hospital. You see, my brother and I, along with our families, live around the corner from the hospital. In many ways moving to J5 was a move “into the community” and very much for the mental health of our Mom. And so, we actively chose to fight in a kind and persistent way. With this new situation, we plan to do the same.

Michael Garron Hospital is currently moving a number of fully ventilated patients onto J5 from Sunnybrook Hospital. So in that sense, it is not really closing. There is ample medical evidence that my mother is a patient whose needs match the requirements for hospital care. We know there are facilities across Ontario that provide Complex Continuing Care, but we need to be near her.

Elaine Grant is a woman of compassion and grace. Despite her massive chart, she is an exceptional patient. If she has concerns about her care, she addresses the issues carefully and in writing. I would completely understand if she were to complain about the weight of her challenges, and yet she never does. I am inspired by her. This might not be surprising given that I am her daughter, but if you would like to hear similar sentiments from people maybe more removed, I could provide a very long list of references. The truth is this: my mother is not a nameless, faceless statistic. Elaine Grant is a person with real health vulnerabilities who should not be displaced. She has suffered tremendous loss, but losing her home should not be added to that list.

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Advocating Against My Mother’s Displacement

  1. Erinn, this simply isn’t right and it makes me angry to know your mom is being treated this way. You’re right. Sharing this story is a start. More people need to speak up in these types of situations because putting money ahead of people is just plain wrong. My thoughts and prayers are with you. ❤
    Diana xo

  2. Hi Erinn, That just sucks. What happens if you just say no. Will they throw your mom onto the street. This is a Toronto Star story ot a city TV story. Tim H used to have a pretty good relationship with Andrea Gordon who does human interest stories for the star.

    I am sitting here just stunned. I can’t even imaging what to say to you. So know I love you and am saddened with you. please keep me posted….. Blessings….rick

    *Rick Tobias * Community Advocate The Yonge Street Mission 306 Gerrard Street East Toronto, ON M5A 2G7

    Direct Line: 416-355-3545 Cell: 416-522-1000 YSM: 416-929-9614 Rick’s Blog: ricktobias.com

    http://www.ysm.ca

    Find us on Facebook or Twitter

  3. What can I do? What can we do? Let me know Erinn, let us know. I am struck by the unfairness of this…and the added stress. We are all here for you.
    stephanie

  4. Yes, this is sad to have your mother moved. I know it was very very difficult to find a suitable retirement for my mother who suffered dementia at 86. Rivera homes was excellent until her funds dwindled. CCAC Fudger House was terrible until she moved to Westbury Retirement homes. Unfortunately near the end I had to help my mother has her needs became many. There is the hospital on Close Avenue & Springhurst that helps those with chronic illnesses. I pray that she can stay where she is for many reasons. Amen

  5. Hi Erin, I pray that you and your family’s voices will be heard and your mom will have a safe place to call home near her family.

  6. This is excellent Erinn. Thank you for getting the word out and for your sweet sentiment.

    Love you, Mom

    Sent from Elaine’s iPad

    >

    1. Very sad news to hear, Elaine – thankful for Erinn with her gift of writing and ability to express the sentiments that we all feel at this news. Praying that a resolution will be found that will allow you to stay at TEGH so that you can be close to your family. Love you, Susan

  7. Hello Erinn,
    Thank you for sharing how you are feeling about your mother’s situation. We appreciate that it was difficult news to hear last week. We want to reiterate our commitment to working together with your mother and your family on a transition plan that works for her. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re always willing to listen.
    – Carmine & Sandra from MGH

    1. Thank you for replying Carmine and Sandra. I would like to meet with you both to further discuss this situation- I appreciate that you are willing to listen. I will contact you later today about a time to meet.
      -Erinn

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