We Hear A Lot Of Hype About Premier Wall's 'Saskatchewan Advantage' - Here's The Reality: Case # 1
Regina homeless man too sick for shelter, not sick enough for hospitalization
REGINA — The executive director of Carmichael Outreach
worries Regina’s homeless population will fall through the cracks this
winter, after her calls for help Thursday went unanswered.
Goulden made eight calls to six different health-care branches when a
homeless man who Goulden described as severely incontinent and in
declining health showed up at Carmichael in the morning. Each one referred her to another. The
man’s story calls into question what services are available for those
who are too sick to stay in a shelter but not sick enough to warrant
hospitalization. Stuck somewhere in the middle, Goulden worries about his fate.
really a prime example of how someone falls through the cracks of the
system and is put out onto the street on a freezing cold day,” Goulden
said in a telephone interview.
The 54-year-old man has been
visiting the outreach centre for years, Goulden said. His health has
been quickly deteriorating over the past six months in particular.He visits nearly every day, but Goulden became alarmed Thursday. The man had trouble walking and wore pants that were soaked with what looked like “days’ worth” of urine.
Goulden called the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) and was
referred to the provincial government’s HealthLine. A nurse there
suggested Goulden contact Mobile Crisis Services, a non-profit
intervention hotline, but a representative with that organization told
Goulden to call EMS.
Goulden ended up calling 9-1-1. Paramedics
responded, but said the man’s needs did not warrant hospitalization.
They suggested Goulden call the health region’s Crisis Response Team,
which referred the call to the health region’s admission and discharge
Three hours and numerous calls later, Goulden was still stuck at square one. Citing
patient confidentiality, the RQHR could not comment specifically on the
case or explain why Goulden’s calls were passed on to various points of
contact within its organization. “We cannot speak publicly about
the specifics of any individual’s case without their written
permission,” Lisa Thomson, a spokeswoman with the health region, wrote
in an email. She added that those in similar, non-urgent
situations can visit a medical clinic or health centre, contact
mental-health services or go to the hospital.
Goulden, the man has been admitted to hospital more than 100 times in
the past six months. His stays have been short-term most of the time. “Do
you know how much it costs the health-care system to admit someone that
many times in a six-month period? It is more costly to do nothing than
to actually get him long-term care,” Goulden explained, growing
frustrated. “It just doesn’t even make sense.”
By early afternoon
Thursday, Carmichael staff changed the man’s clothes and he was back on
the street. Goulden believes he was eventually taken to hospital, but
that could not be confirmed. “These guys just float around, the weather is getting worse, and it’s scary.”