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Friday, December 07, 2012 

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.

Danielle 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.

“It’s 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.

Concerned, 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 department.

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.

According to 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.”

Merry Christams to ALL members of the Saskatchewan Party ....

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