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Coronavirus: Questions raised over moving seniors out of long-term care homes

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Children of aging parents face dilemma about moving seniors out of long-term care homes' Coronavirus: Children of aging parents face dilemma about moving seniors out of long-term care homes
WATCH: Families with loved ones in long-term care or group homes are faced with heart-wrenching decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the high potential for outbreaks, many wonder if it’s safe to take them out of their familiar surroundings. Jill Croteau reports – Apr 9, 2020

With the senior population so vulnerable to COVID-19, many families across Alberta and the country are struggling with decisions on what’s best for them. Alle Ross was wondering what she should do for her 87-year-old mom, Eunice.

“Because she’s familiar with where she’s at and you’re also concerned that if one person gets it, it’s a lockdown and you can’t get them,” Ross said.

READ MORE: What to know before removing loved ones from nursing homes amid COVID-19

She decided to move her mom back home to live with her in her condo. She moved her out of her seniors lodge on March 26. She said she couldn’t bear the thought of her mom being quarantined and alone.

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“I fell apart because I thought she might die without talking to her family,” Ross said. “It’s a lot to carry, I am happy she is healthy and home.”

 

Eunice Ross with her 3 daughters.
Eunice Ross with her 3 daughters. Courtesy: Alle Ross

 

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Alberta Health officials say there’s a lot to consider. Spokesperson Tom McMillan said if families have the choice to bring them home they should know the risks.

“If families wish to take a resident home to provide care for them during an outbreak, they can, but the resident will not be re-admitted back into the facility until the outbreak is over,” McMillan said.

“We are advising that the decision to remove a resident should be made in conjunction with the resident’s care team, physician, at-home supports, AHS Home Care (if applicable) and any alternate decision makers. It is essential that families be able to fully meet the resident’s needs,” McMillan said.

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Click to play video: 'Fear for seniors during COVID-19 pandemic' Fear for seniors during COVID-19 pandemic
Fear for seniors during COVID-19 pandemic – Apr 7, 2020

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Health Officer, noted it is a very individual decision.

“We know that the people, especially who are in long term care, often have very complex care needs,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

I think it’s a matter of making sure that as people are considering that they talk to those facilities, they understand what’s being done to protect their loved one in that particular facility. And they understand what the implications might be if they if they took them home,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

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Coronavirus: Another death in McKenzie Towne home, mourning families continue coming forward with questions – Apr 8, 2020

Alle Ross said she was willing to take any risks. The two are now self-isolating together and haven’t shown any symptoms.

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“You should be able to bring your loved one home if you want to,” Ross said. “You don’t want to wait until they die to be able to see them again.”

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