The mother of a 22-year-old Langley woman with severe epilepsy is at her wit’s end.
Tavia Marlatt endures dozens of seizures every day and must have constant supervision. Renee Marlatt says it is in her daughter’s best interest to remain at home, but the Fraser Health Authority has rejected any funding for in-home care.
Instead, the region is suggesting there is money for Tavia if she moves into a group home or another specialized facility.
“They are not responsive, they are not flexible,” Renee said. “You need to fit into a little box: ‘This is what we have and if you don’t want it, you get nothing.'”
Tavia wants to stay at home too. Along with the seizures, she suffers from mental illness and without a comfortable, stable environment, she believes she won’t do as well.
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“I am still hopeful something will happen for me,” Tavia said.
The B.C. Epilepsy Society represents thousands of patients across the province, and says B.C. has a long way to go to catch up to care models provided in other provinces.
“Calgary has eight beds designated for epilepsy. In all of Vancouver we have two,” B.C. Epilepsy Society executive director Kim Davidson said.
Davidson believes keeping patients at home is a potentially better solution for everyone, especially in Tavia’s case. The cost of care would be pennies on the dollar compared to hospitalization, according to Davidson — and more than that, staying at home results in better outcomes.
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“If Tavia is forced into a group home, there will be emergency room visits, other hospitalizations, the potential for interactions with law enforcement, and social services,” Davidson said.
In a statement to Global News, Fraser Health said it can’t speak about individual cases, but said the government agency is committed to working with patients to get them the best possible care.
“Our priority is to ensure patients with acquired brain injuries and specialized needs are able to achieve their rehabilitation goals,” the statement reads.
“We continue to listen to and have ongoing, respectful conversations with the family in order to find the best path to the most appropriate care.”
Renee said this has been going on since Tavia aged out of the youth care system at 19. For the last three years, she has struggled to find the appropriate level of care for her daughter.
She’s now reaching out to the B.C. ombudsperson to take a look at her case, and is hoping someone puts her daughter’s needs ahead of the bureaucratic process.
“I feel like no one is listening to me,” Renee said. “Everywhere I turn to look for answers, people simply shrug their shoulders and says, ‘Oh well.'”
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