London man with lifelong illness sues government after being denied self-directed homecare funding

Roger Foley, 42, lives with a neurodegenerative disease known as cerebellar ataxia.
Roger Foley, 42, lives with a neurodegenerative disease known as cerebellar ataxia. Assisted Life / YouTube

A London man living with chronic illness says he’s been denied the right to choose his own assisted home care team — and he’s going to court to fight for it.

Roger Foley, 42, has a neurodegenerative disease known as cerebellar ataxia, which has left him unable to walk.

“It is a grievous and irremediable condition and he is substantially suffering,” said Ken Berger, Foley’s lawyer.

The disease means Foley requires assistance with everyday activities such as feeding himself. He was receiving home care from government-contracted agencies, but claims the care has been inadequate.

“The service is being provided, [but it is not being] provided in a way that relieves Mr. Foley’s substantial suffering,” said Berger.

A statement of claim filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice says Foley attempted to secure funding to choose his own care provider but was unsuccessful.

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“The only way to meet his needs and relieve his suffering is to [let him] tailor to his needs through self-directed funding, which would allow him to hire his own workers who are qualified, committed and dedicated to him and are flexible to his needs,” said Berger.

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In a YouTube video published Wednesday, Foley explains he’s been at Victoria hospital since February 2016 from what he says is a direct result of “very poor quality and deteriorating home care by a government-contracted agency.”

In the video, Foley pleads for self-directed funding so he can return to his home.

“Roger wants to control and manage his own care. To have a quality of life and a quality of care, and to control who is coming to provide care for him,” said Berger.

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“He wants to have a very close and intimate relationship with the provider because he is very impaired and it’s important that his needs be met.”

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The regional healthcare administration, the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the London Health Sciences Centre, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto, Ontario’s attorney general and the federal attorney general are all named in the statement of claim.

– With files from Andrew Lawton