Ivy Bennett struggled with living in a long-term care home secure unit. She ended up there after she was brought to the hospital for an infection and antibiotics were not working to relieve the infection. The infection was causing Ivy's already compromised memory to decline and she began wandering and confused and her safety became a concern. She was deemed unable to return home safely and as a result was placed as a crisis placement in a long-term care home that was not close to family.
After taking a fall in the long-term care home, Ivy's granddaughter Lorraine wanted to bring her closer to home. Lorraine worked with home and community care to relocate Ivy to a nearby long-term care home. "Long-term care was not our first choice but it was a crisis situation," recalls Lorraine. "Once the crisis was resolved, we wanted to bring her home. After Nana was closer to home I wanted to start bringing her home for visits. There were some mobility issues as she couldn't manage the stairs in my home very well as a result of the fall. With a bit of time Nana had stabilized and I began bringing her home on occasional evenings and it was wonderful. She has such a sharp sense of humor and keeps us on our toes.
"We had to make some adjustments to make the home safe and secure but Nana enjoys the social stimulation and the familiarity of being home. Eventually, with the help of the home and community care I brought her home for a one month trial while maintaining the bed at the long-term care home in case there were issues.
"Some health professionals insisted I didn't know what I was getting myself into but with the help of home and community care care coordinator Denis Michel it has been successful.
With a focus on providing the right care at the right place at the right time, Denis worked with the family to develop an individualized care plan and provided system navigation to help the family access home care services such as personal support and occupational therapy, as well as services such as the Adult Day Program one day a week. "It is nice to play cards and sing and forget all your problems," says Ivy about the Adult day Program. She also made a vague reference to a Welsh gentleman whose company she enjoys there.
"Nana was slow to embrace home care because it was another change for her and the relationship is very personal. However, it has worked out and Personal Support Worker Theresa Letourneau is gold and we could not sustain this without her," says Lorraine. "We gave up the long-term care bed and this was the right decision to keep her safe at home as long as possible with the help of the CCAC connecting us to services when we need them.
"When you have power of attorney, you must understand that the Substitute Decision Maker Act is about making decisions that are not necessarily based on what the professionals think is in the best interest but rather to make the decision that the individual would make for themself.
"The government is on the right track trying to keep people at home as long as possible. It delivers good value and enhances the family experience. The care in the long-term care homes was good but the support of the CCAC has helped us to feel empowered and Nana is much happier at home. Denis and the care provided by the CCAC have been great," concludes Lorraine.
Ivy remains on the wait list for two long-term care homes and recently removed her name from one home because she was approaching the top of the list. Clearly Ivy is not ready for long-term care and is content right where she is.
"It is nice to be close to the water," says Ivy, obviously appreciating the comforts of home. Ivy has always been about family. She proudly showcased the inscription in her wedding band – Chris and Ivy 1940. "It is nice to be with family including the three dogs and two cats. I don't want to be anywhere else. If I am slow to get up in the morning, the dogs will come in and lick my face to wake me."