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Queen’s University professor fighting to get father with dementia OHIP exemption

Click to play video: 'Kingston, Ont., woman unable to secure end of life care for immigrant father' Kingston, Ont., woman unable to secure end of life care for immigrant father
Reena Kukreja, an assistant professor at Queen's University, cannot get the necessary long term care for her father because he does not have an OHIP card. Because he is not a permanent resident of Canada, despite living here since 2016, she is in limbo trying to preserve his dignity in his final months – Mar 26, 2022

A Kingston, Ont., woman says she’s stuck in limbo as she fights to get her 96-year-old father end of life care. He does not have an OHIP number.

Reena Kukreja, an assistant professor at Queen’s University, has lived in Canada for 30 years.

She brought her father, Krishan Kukreja, over from India on a temporary visa in 2016, following the death of her mother.

Read more: Supporters rally to save Kingston’s Integrated Care Hub

In November of last year, Krishan developed a silent urinary tract infection that, in turn, accelerated symptoms of dementia.

Reena now says it is unsafe for everybody involved for her father to continue living at her home.

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“He became increasingly delirious, paranoid, aggressive, to a point where he was committing, almost, self-harm, trying to break glass windows, glass doors, walking outside of the doors, hitting me, almost came to breaking my hands,” said Reena.

Since he is not a permanent resident of Canada, Krishan has not been able to secure an OHIP card, leaving him stuck without a place to go, despite the fact the family has offered to pay for long-term care out of pocket.

“I am in a Catch-22 situation. I have no idea what to do next and, so, now we’ll be looking and reaching out to long-term care institutions again and saying, ‘is there a way we can break this impasse?'” she said.

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Currently, her father is at Kingston General Hospital and while he’s more stable, it’s not a sustainable situation.

She has appealed to the Ministry of Health to grant a compassionate exemption in order to get him the care he needs but says that request was denied on Friday, leaving her in a tough situation.

“When I got the email on Friday morning, I cried for an hour and I couldn’t do any work after that for a long while, and then I went in to meet my father and just looking at him again, I was teary-eyed,” Reena said.

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Global News reached out to local officials for comment but did not hear back before deadline.

Reena says the staff at KGH have been incredibly compassionate and helpful throughout the process.

She went on to say that she has received numerous racist emails since she went public with her story, but that her top priority remains to get her father the care he needs.

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