When the 120 new beds were announced by Health Minister Adrian Dix in January, Ali Doi was asked to speak at the press conference. Here are her remarks.
Thank you for the opportunity to share with you my journey as a care-giver.
It is gratifying to hear that the promised new L.T.C. beds are have been designated at last..
I am 85 yrs old, and have been a care giver for 15 , the last 5 being the most difficult. I am only one of hundreds in the same position; the elderly struggling to keep an elderly loved one at home, and provide for all of their needs. Every C.G. that I know has this goal.
We learn about the support services available to help in this regard: the A.D.P., Respite beds, Handy Dart, Home care help, but we soon learn that availability is limited and wait times long.
My spouse is 87 now, with a history of laryngeal cancer, and the disastrous results of radiation causing choking. He also has Normal Pressure Hydrocephaly causing some dementia, but many physical side effects such as balance and weakness. As swallowing and choking became worse, a stomach tube was installed permanently last year.
He had three hospital admissions recently for aspiration pneumonia. I had to do the Heimlich manoeuver many times to clear his airway and restore breathing. Falls became more frequent, and after hurting my back lifting him, it was necessary to call the ambulance many times to get him back to bed.
The last time he was admitted to hospital during August 2018, our family doctor said he would keep him there, or he would have us both in hospital as I was in burnout.
After I began to regain my health I was guilt-ridden for not being able to keep him at home….a common feeling of care givers.
I am grateful that extra T.C. beds were opened and he was able to be transferred into one. I am also grateful to the caring staff who look after him there. Life is better for both of us.
Unfortunately, there is still a large mass of others coming right behind us with similar heart-breaking stories. By the time these care givers are in burnout I fear the situation may be ever worse for them.
I pray that this government will continue their efforts to increase the number of L.T.C. bed even more.