Civil Rights

“I don’t understand why I just can’t go home,”

Ron Winter on the Vancouver Island Granny Snatching story:

By way of an update I am about to tell you how badly things there have gone since media attention focused on Broadmead and Mrs. Palamarek. This isn’t pretty…

63472-kathleen-palamarek-1601Compare the sad case of authorities imprisoning one kind old person who has harmed no one and puts no person at risk while other authorities push a child killer back into the community, even that which is home to the grieving mother of his three dead children. Sadly, the Palamarek case has similar roots to the situation of Allan Schoenborn.

833d7-schoenborn1301What is at work is bureaucratic inertia, the resistance to change and predilection for the status quo. Someone makes a decision, all others resist altering that decision, regardless of the facts. Entreaties from the effected are disregarded and only when the sunlight of public attention shines does reconsideration become possible. The fact set doesn’t change, only the level of deliberation forced on the decision makers.

We cannot understand the motivation of Broadmead Lodge that led them to obstruct Mrs. Palamarek’s departure but ultimately, her needs and desires took a back seat to the facility’s aim of preventing scrutiny of their work. That leaves one wondering what else is going on at Victoria’s Hotel California. Is this a warehouse of drugged seniors kept idle by medication to lessen staffing requirements and increase profits? Perhaps, they bury mistakes with no one aware except family members who are demonized when they object.

Remember the last verse of the song made famous by The Eagles:

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

We see clearly the randomness of approaches to innocent human lives. Some persons fall into black holes of bureaucracy, never to be seen again, while others ricochet unconstrained through the institutional universe. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond the Representative for Children and Youth  provides a near perfect example of how an independent expert observer can light the proper paths for care organizations that become stuck on the wrong direction through bureaucratic inertia.

I’ve drawn the Palamarek case to the personal attention of certain politicians, not so much for examination of specific details – she is, after all, only one of many such victims – but for commitments to change the processes at work. Adrian Dix provided the only response:

8db19-adrian-dix-1601For several years, I have called for legislation to establish an independent seniors’ representative, and I will establish this post when elected Premier.

Similar to the Independent Children’s Representative, a provincial seniors’ representative would keep a government accountable, and would serve as an advocate for patients in care, their families, and the staff who care for them.

Front line workers seniors and their families could turn to the representative to address concerns around quality of care and impact of government decisions, The representative would also monitor and determine if B.C. programs and services are delivering the care seniors require, and if underlying government policy is improving or undermining seniors’ health care.

Read also: How things work, when they don’t work and An Old problem: elder abuse

Categories: Civil Rights, Health

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2 replies »

  1. Adrian Dix's recommendation is not good enough. There has to be a quick legal intervention not another representative. We can't wait while people suffer needlessly.
    I have been demonized by Vancouver Coastal Health and everyone just stands there and watches or throws rotten tomatoes not knowing the facts. If an employees shows some objection he/she is put on short hours and then the door. VCH does everything to discourage visitors and warehouses patients until their early demise as patients quickly lose their will to live. I have a brief blog which isn't conclusive but says enough to show the public how dangerous it is to be in care or to advocate for someone in care.


  2. Check this story out on Harper announcing yesterday that he’ll “crack down” on elder abuse. (see below) I think this is just PR nonsense designed to make people think Harper is “tough on elder abuse”.

    If Harper's so tough on elder abuse he should do something now to get this woman in Victoria out of that disgusting nursing home.

    I think we should all, each one of us, contact every Conservative candidate we can and insist they start to demonstrate their campaign promises now.

    Ask Harper if his “crack down” on elder abuse includes cracking down on institutional elder abuse and abuse by public agencies and authorities. Or do they get a pass?

    Harper makes no mention of abuse by institutional “care” givers, or about the horrors faced by this woman and, judging by other posts, faced by many other vulnerable people who need comfort not abuse and neglect. This abuse is a pattern, it’s no longer just “isolated” incidents. These health authorities seem to be accountable to no one. This is frightening.

    So, let’s contact Harper’s candidates and get them to put up or shut up. After the election, we will have zero influence on politicians or on this horrible situation.

    And we should contact other party candidates too. What’s their policy, what will they do to help this woman?

    This woman’s desperate plight is giving Canada another international black eye — look at this story out of New York about Mrs. Palamrek:

    Now, here’s the story on Harper’s “crack down”.

    Harper vows elder abuse crackdown

    CTV news – April 15, 2011

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper began Friday by announcing a Conservative government would crack down on those who commit crimes against seniors.

    Harper made the announcement in the Thornhill riding of the Greater Toronto Area with a backdrop of seniors — one of his key target groups in the election.

    He said a re-elected Conservative government would ensure that the Criminal Code of Canada includes a provision to add age to the list of aggravating factors courts must consider when issuing a sentence.

    Effectively, the provision would mean that those who commit crimes against the elderly could face tougher sentences than those who commit equivalent crimes against non-seniors.

    “Elderly Canadians are among the most vulnerable members of our society,” Harper said. “We must protect our seniors and ensure that criminals who prey on them are punished appropriately.”

    With two weeks to go before the federal election, all the party leaders on Friday are visiting ridings from east to west where they hope to shore up support or make new inroads.

    After starting in Thornhill, part of the vote-rich Toronto area where the Conservative leader has focused much of his campaign, Harper was scheduled to fly to Saskatoon, Sask. before winding up his day in Vancouver.

    The GTA is widely considered to be the key to the majority government Harper is seeking. He has spent much of the campaign courting ethnic and religious groups in a bid to gain new seats in the region.


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