87-year-old struggles to access health care in English

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WATCH: The daughter of an 87-year-old woman is sounding the alarm because her mother is unable to receive care in English. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, it's not an isolated case – May 4, 2018

The daughter of an 87-year-old woman is speaking out because she says her mother is unable to receive care in English and that’s putting her health at risk.

Olena Wynnycky says staff at Ukrainian Villa who are supposed to assess the health of her mother, Nadia Hrymak-Wynnycky only speak French and as a result, she’s not getting proper medical care.

Hrymak-Wynnycky speaks Ukrainian and English but her daughter says she’s at a loss having to communicate her health concerns in French.

“There was a visit from the doctor and the auxiliary nurse, and they speak among themselves in French about her. So she doesn’t understand what they’re saying about her health, what they’re speaking about her. And when I call, they don’t return my calls,” Wynnycky told Global News.

READ MORE: Quebec adopts new regulation to improve access to healthcare in English

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Wynnycky says she complained about the lack of proper care to the local CLSC.

The CLSC sent a person to asses her mother but they were also French-speaking.

“I had to do all the translating. So basically there’s nobody who’s supposed to provide care, the nurse, the doctor, the CLSC that can speak to her in a language she can speak,” Wynnycky said.

The Ukrainian Villa director wouldn’t speak to us on camera, instead, she referred Global News to staff members who admitted English is not their strong language because most people in the residence communicate in Ukrainian.

They added there is one auxiliary nurse caring for more than 40 residents, but explained it was a semi-independent living facility and their residents don’t need hospital-level care.

READ MORE: QCGN satisfied with concessions reached on Quebec healthcare reform

They assured Global News that the needs of the seniors living in the private residence are met.

“I think there’s a weird situation here where the auxiliary nurse also is unilingual, French-speaking, and the CLSC also isn’t too interested in the situation here — they point fingers at each other and people get lost in the cracks,” Wynnycky said.

Seniors Action Quebec’s Ruth Pelletier says Wynnycky’s case is not isolated.

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Pelletier says anglophone seniors are vulnerable because often, their adult children leave the province and they do not have strong support groups.

That leaves people like Wynnycky in a tough spot.

Wynnycky lives in Ontario. She is contemplating uprooting her mother from the neighbourhood and community she’s lived in most of her life to a place where she can get services in the language she needs.

“At least make her last years of her life as comfortable as possible,” Wynnycky said.