N.B. man says wife now needs wheelchair after 9-month hospital stay

Click to play video: 'Couple says shortages at N.B. hospital left long-term health impacts'
Couple says shortages at N.B. hospital left long-term health impacts
A Shediac man says his wife experienced first-hand the effects of hospital overcrowding and staffing shortages. His wife spent nine months at a Moncton hospital while waiting to be placed in long term care, but he says hospital staff did not have the time to properly care for her and he says that lead to long-term health impacts. Suzanne Lapointe has their story – Jul 25, 2022

A New Brunswick man says his wife’s nine-month hospital stay while waiting to be placed in long-term care led to long-term health impacts due to hospital staff not having the time to properly care for her.

Frank Darlow of Shediac said his wife Reba Sully was first admitted to the Moncton Hospital on Aug. 12, 2021, after it became clear her dementia had progressed to the point she could become violent.

She only left in mid-May 2022 when a place opened up for her at the Villa Providence residence in Shediac.

He alleges his wife was restrained to her hospital bed for the majority of her nine-month stay, wearing only a hospital gown as staff did not have the resources to dress her.

“They left her bedridden from the time she went in there right up until she left,” he said.

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“They told me to bring her clothes home. She would not be getting dressed in the hospital again. … She remained in hospital gowns from day one … over nine months. They told me it was too hard to dress her.”

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He claims that because she spent so much time lying down, she now needs a wheelchair, which wasn’t the case before her hospital stay.

He said that now that she is in a special care home, her condition has improved now that she can get dressed every day and get out of bed.

He said she often smiles as she looks out the window, something she wasn’t able to do while in bed at the hospital.

“I’ve never seen anybody that happy to be in a wheelchair … just to be out of bed. She can’t walk. They told me she’ll never walk again. But I feel they robbed her of what enjoyment she could have had out of life.”

Darlow is seeking answers about the quality of his wife’s care while she was in the hospital.

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He said he received a verbal apology from Christa Wheeler-Thorne, the hospital’s executive director, at a meeting last week.

Horizon Health Network confirmed the meeting took place in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“In general, feedback from meetings with families provides us with the information we need to continuously improve,” Horizon Health Network said.

“Horizon’s Patient Representative Services provides information, support, encouragement and assistance to patients, families and staff in all our facilities during a patient’s health care experience.”

The Department of Health referred Global News to the Horizon Health Network when asked for comment on Monday.

The Office of the Child, Youth and Senior’s Advocate declined to comment, as a spokesperson explained it can’t publicly comment on any file that may or may not be subject to an investigation.

The New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes did not return Global News’ request for comment.

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