Burnaby NewsLeader

Former councillor moved to care home

The family of former Burnaby councillor Doug Evans is "thrilled" he's finally been moved to a care home after spending over four months at Burnaby Hospital.

Evans, 83, has had Alzheimer's disease for about eight years.  His family went public in September with their concerns about his treatment at the hospital, where he was admitted in June after being picked up by police when he got lost while out for a walk.

When his family arrived, they found him in the ER, heavily medicated with anti-psychotic medication, restrained to a bed and wearing only a diaper.

For months, daughter Diane Evans and her siblings took shifts being with him during almost every waking hour, fighting to get him off the medication which they believed was speeding up the progression of his disease. He was confined to a bed for so long the previously healthy man's legs atrophied so he can no longer walk, Diane said.

The family raised concerns about the long wait for a publicly-funded bed in a longterm care facility and in the meantime, what they say was poor treatment at the acute care hospital by health care staff not trained to deal with Alzheimer's patients.

During his stay at Burnaby Hospital, Evans contracted pneumonia and two cases of the highly contagious C. difficile, of which there have been several much-reported outbreaks at the facility.

He was finally moved on Nov. 1 to Normanna Care Home in Burnaby, despite the fact he is still recovering from C. difficile, something that surprised the family. "They said, 'he's within the guidelines, he's OK,'" Diane said.

She noted that the siblings have been supplementing his antibiotics with Gatorade and probiotics, and his condition has stabilized, although he's lost 30 pounds.

Diane had nothing but compliments for the care her father is now receiving at Normanna.

"We're really happy with the care he's getting there."

She said her father doesn't seem to recognize his family and friends, other than that they are people who care about him.

But Normanna staff, "they really understand someone with Alzheimer's. They're keeping him busy, they have chores for him. There seems to be a lot of staff there."

Being given something to do, even just folding towels, has made a difference.

"When I dropped by to see him he was having tea and there was like, half a dozen ladies all around him. One of the ladies said, 'we don't have a lot of men here, you know. He's a welcome addition,'" Diane said with a laugh. "He was sitting there with a big smile on his face. He doesn't know what was going on, but..."

Once his C. difficile clears up, Diane said the siblings hope to bring their mother out to see him, as they didn't want to run the risk of her catching the infection. And he's got a new great-grandchild they'd like him to meet.

As for their issues with Burnaby Hospital, she said they still have not received a response to their formal complaint from Fraser Health Authority, but they plan to pursue it.

"We don't want this to happen to anyone else."



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