Family members of Maple Personal Care Home residents speak out

WINNIPEG — Families of care home residents are questioning why more action wasn’t taken sooner after an incident where paramedics treated 12 residents in a night at Maple Personal Care Home.

Some families are grieving the loss of loved ones due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and others are worried about family members living in the home.

It was only four weeks ago that Brenda Gregory was admitted to Maples Personal Care Home.

Her son Lance Gauthier and daughter-in-law Karen Bluschke said right from the start Gregory was complaining about missed medications and a lack of care.

“She said that no one had been in to see her, that she was sitting in her own urine,” said Bluschke. “She had to wear a diaper and it was soaked, her bed was soaked.”

Last Monday, Gauthier and Bluschke called an ambulance for Gregory because she didn’t sound well. When paramedics arrived, they informed Gauthier his mother was showing signs of influenza.

Tuesday, his mother was sent to the hospital, and doctors confirmed she tested positive for COVID-19, and her health was heading downhill.

“We were told it hadn’t turned the corner the way they’d hoped, and they didn’t feel that she was going to come out [of it],” said Bluschke holding back tears.

On Friday, Brenda Gregory passed away due to COVID-19.

Many other families are worried about their loved ones in Maples Personal Care Home.

Susan Kokolsky’s 80-year-old mother has been living in Maples for the last four months. Last week, she found out her Mom tested positive for the virus.

“She got COVID-19, it’s asymptomatic, but my Mom also has lung cancer, so it’s very concerning to me,” she said.

Kokolsky said her Mother is isolated in her room and hasn’t been able to see her or speak with her.

In a press conference on Sunday, Health Minister Cameron Friesen said he takes accountability for the outbreak and is working to understand what went wrong.

“What occurred at Maples? What changed so quickly that it was necessary to call paramedics? How can we avoid similar situations in the future?” asked Friesen.

Kokolsky believes Revera, the company that owns Maples, is part of the problem.

“I want to see them held accountable because I had problems prior to that I addressed and nothing was ever done,” Kokolsky said.

Bluschke wants the province and health officials to be proactive instead of reactive.

“These are individuals who all their life, took care, worked, contributed, and this is what they get from our province?”  

The province said it is engaging an independent expert to look into what happened at Maples and Parkview Place Personal Care Homes.

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