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Posts Tagged "due"

8Jul

Severely ill Galiano Island woman turned away from assisted living due to ‘unscheduled care needs’ | CBC News

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Jemma Lee says she’s had problems with fatigue her entire life, but in the last decade migraines and frequent bouts of the flu have turned that fatigue into a new beast. 

The 52-year-old was diagnosed three years ago with extreme myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.), a neuroinflammatory disease known to many as chronic fatigue syndrome. It causes extreme tiredness and affects various body systems to the point where Lee says she is “unable to move.” 

Lee was shocked to learn recently that her four applications for assisted living in Victoria have been declined by the Vancouver Island Health Authority due to “unscheduled care needs.”

‘Prisoner in my own home’

“I was so incredulous,” said Lee, who lives alone in a 240-square-foot home on Galiano Island, where she’s forced to chop wood for warmth and doesn’t have access to filtered water.

“I’m a prisoner in my own home.”

Jemma Lee lives in a 240-square-foot home on Galiano Island where she says the health-care services are not advanced enough to support her. (Jemma Lee (Submitted))

After moving to Galiano in 2012, Lee said her symptoms worsened. Last year, she counted 140 days of seizures, which can affect various parts of her body, leaving her “unable to speak” for as long as 45 minutes, she says.

According the ME/FM Society of British Columbia, nearly 600,000 Canadian suffer from varying forms of the condition.

Galiano Island services not enough

Lee said she regularly sees a doctor and a community nurse, and receives online emotional counselling.

While she’s happy with the support she’s had, she said the services on Galiano are not advanced enough to help her as she deteriorates.

“Right now I rely on my friends to take me to my health appointments and it’s a minimum 12-hour day to … take the ferry and come back,” she said, adding that her appointments typically last no more than 40 minutes.

“[My friends] have to be able to cope with me if I have a seizure … and take responsibility for me.”

Lee suffers from frequent seizures that affect various part of her body as a result of extreme myalgic encephalomyelitis. (Jemma Lee (Submitted))

With low income and no family in B.C., she said only assisted living in Victoria can meet her needs and give her nearby access to specialized services like physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social workers, and acupuncture.

Peter Luckham, Chair of the Islands Trust, said Lee is “not alone” in her difficulty accessing assisted living as a Gulf Island resident, because the services are hard to come by. 

“At the end of the day, you end up leaving the islands” for more advanced services, he said.

Unpredictable health issues

Lee said Island Health doesn’t want someone with “unpredictable health issues,” as there are days where she could be walking relatively well, and others where she’s “seizuring on the floor.”

She recently wrote an open letter to Island Health, detailing her condition and imploring them to reconsider.

A statement from the authority says it is “aware of Ms. Lee’s concerns” and is “reviewing her application with her in order to provide the most appropriate care plan for her needs.”

Lee said that she and others with the disease are fighting for it to be recognized as a biological condition in the same way diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis are. The term chronic fatigue syndrome, used widely by medical professionals, reduces the legitimacy of the disease by making light of it, she said.

Not taken seriously

Dr. Mohamed Gheis, a neuropsychiatrist in Victoria who runs a rehabilitation program for people with neurological disorders, said M.E. patients are still “not very well understood” by Canadian health-care workers.

Right now, these patients are “not receiving the care they deserve as sources of disability,” he said.

Lee said she’s had doctors ask her to explain M.E. “When you go to the hospital, you’re having to advocate for yourself constantly,” she said.

Elizabeth Sanchez, the president of the ME/FM Society of B.C., said some M.E. patients have had doctors laugh at them or berate them, and some patients have committed suicide because “they just can’t bear their lives any longer.”

She said the society has been trying to get the province’s Ministry of Health to understand the severity of the disease, but it’s a slow, frustrating process.  

“They don’t understand that there is a crisis for M.E. patients,” she said. “But there is a light at the end of the tunnel … We just don’t know how long that tunnel is.”


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30May

Life expectancy stops increasing in Canada due to B.C. opioid overdose deaths: stats

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16Nov

Vote No campaign calls to extend election reform vote due to low voter turnout

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The deadline for the referendum on electoral reform is in two weeks and, as the debate between first-past-the-post and proportional representation rages, some are calling for an extension.

The Vote No campaign has raised concerns about the referendum, saying an extension is needed because of the potential for low voter turnout and mail delivery disruption from the Canada Post strike.

“There are a lot of reasons for Elections B.C. to take action,” said Bill Tieleman, president of the No B.C. Proportional Representation Society.

His main concern is that, without a deadline extension, there simply won’t be enough votes on the issue.

As of Friday, less than 20 per cent of the ballots had been received by Election B.C. They are currently due on Nov. 30.

Less than 20 per cent of ballots have been received by Elections B.C. so far 9:50

“The volume of ballots to come anywhere close to 50 per cent would have to be massive, and there’s just no indication that is what is going on,” he told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition.

The high point of voter turnout is currently about 16 per cent in some ridings, Tieleman said, but that falls to as low as one-and-half per cent in others.

“We could have an extremely small fraction of people deciding what is really fundamental in our democracy — how we elect our representatives,” he said.

Whether B.C. voters cast ballots in the future for individuals, political parties or a mix will be determined in November’s mail-in referendum. (CBC)

Voter turnout

Previous referendums in B.C., like those on the electoral system in 2005 and 2009 or on the harmonized sale tax in 2011, all had a voter turnout of more than 50 per cent.

However, There is no minimum voter participation threshold for any referendum.

“As it is with every election, it’s the voters who turn out who get to decide,” said Bowinn Ma, an NDP MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.

She’s an advocate for proportional representation in the hopes that it will increase voter turnout.  

“We’ve had abysmal voter turnout in elections in general which is why I’m so excited about proportional representation,” Ma said.  

“Generally, when we’re talking about voter response, it ultimately comes down to whether a  voter feels like the vote is important to them.”

Lack of engagement

Lack of voter engagement is at the heart of the matter, according to University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford.

“It doesn’t seem to me like there’s an overwhelming engagement on this issue,” Telford told Michelle Eliot, host of B.C. Today.

“That’s, I think, indicative of the very low return rate of the ballots so far … It may be the case that some people are either still deliberating or may be sitting on their ballots because of the postal worker issue.”

Elections B.C. says it is monitoring the Canada Post situation and, if there are significant delays or impacts on accessibility, extending the voting period is a possibility.

University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford on the proportional referendum and extending the deadline. Jake Fry, co-founder, Small Housing BC, and Rebecca Chaster, community planner at the City of Coquitlam, on tiny homes. 50:58

With files from The Early Edition and B.C. Today.


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27Oct

Janes chicken burgers recalled due to possible salmonella

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Sofina Foods Inc. is recalling Janes brand Pub Style Chicken Burgers from the marketplace due to possible salmonella contamination, including one in B.C.

The agency says the uncooked breaded chicken burgers were sold across the country in 800 gram packages with a best before date of May 14, 2019 (UPC code 0 69299 12491 0).

In its recall warning the CFIA says Salmonella investigations led by the Public Health Agency of Canada have linked frozen raw breaded chicken products to 25 illnesses in nine provinces — one in B.C., three in Alberta, three in Saskatchewan, one in Manitoba, 12 in Ontario, two in Quebec, one in New Brunswick, one in P.E.I., and one in Newfoundland and Labrador.

It says two people have been hospitalized, though no deaths have been reported.

The agency, however, did not say whether any of the illness were directly related to the products being recalled.

It says the recalled items should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning typically include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea, but long-term complications can include severe arthritis.

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23Oct

After surgery, 15 per cent of B.C. patients rush back to hospital, mainly due to pain, bleeding or infections

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Royal Columbian Hospital Emergency Room entrance.
While Dr. McDonald said the study was done on patients who went to the Chilliwack hospital, she believes the results can be applied more generally.


Ward Perrin / PROVINCE

Post-operative visits to the emergency department are fairly common with just over 15 per cent of patients going to a hospital emergency department within six weeks after any type of surgery, a B.C. study shows.

The most frequent complaints and diagnoses were surgery-related pain, infections, and bleeding, according to the cover-featured study published in the B.C. Medical Journal.

Study co-author Dr. Susan McDonald said that since more and more patients are released the same day as their operations, patients are losing close attention and education from nurses. That loss in post-operative oversight has increased the likelihood that patients will experience concerns or complications after they’ve been discharged.

McDonald, a general surgeon at Chilliwack General Hospital, said some surgeons tell patients to come back for follow-ups two to three weeks after their operation, while others stipulate six weeks; often it has to do with the complexity of the procedure. But patients often feel they can’t wait that long when problems arise.

The finding that 15.1 per cent of surgery patients are rushing to the emergency department within weeks following surgery suggests there are quality improvement measures required, McDonald said. She’s urged the Fraser Health Authority, for example, to immediately notify surgeons when one of their patients has returned to the hospital. But she said the health authority has to find a workaround to alter the way computerized hospital records are formatted so that surgeons can receive such notifications whenever one of their patients has a post-operative problem.

“As a surgeon, I want to be alerted about patients who have complications. I can’t fix anything I don’t know about,” McDonald said. “Surgeons need this information as well for their own personal learning. It’s disheartening when patients develop infections. They lose faith in their doctors and in the system.”

She said patients also need to ask more questions, be given more information as part of their informed consent process, and be urged to read and retain the handout brochures they are given so they know what to expect after surgery.

The study was based on the charts — marked for the study purposes with a red dot — of about 250 post-operative patients who went to the Chilliwack hospital in the summer of 2015.

Of the total, just over half had their surgery at that hospital while the rest had their operations in other hospitals. Only two patients who went to the ER required admission to hospital while the rest were prescribed antibiotics, other medications, or some form of treatment and then released.

McDonald said while the study was done on patients who went to the Chilliwack hospital, she believes the results can be applied more generally.

“There are not a lot of studies that have been published that look at things from this approach. Most studies look at either specific diseases or procedures and then look back retrospectively to determine the rate of emergency room visits. But I believe we were very close to the numbers quoted in those other few studies.”

The takeaway message for patients and doctors is that communication is critically important, she said. Anticipated or even unexpected issues should be covered during consultations with surgeons. Patients should know what to expect, including how much pain and discomfort may be expected since all surgery does involve some pain. Patients should also have discussions with doctors about who to see or where to go if they have problems so that emergency departments aren’t necessarily the default destination for visits that aren’t true emergencies.

But McDonald admits it’s also likely that the growing number of patients without primary care physicians is contributing to a high number of patients using ERs.

“Up to 30 per cent of patients in Chilliwack don’t have a family doctor. This is definitely something on my radar now and may be a strong factor in why people are going to the ER.”

McDonald said while an ideal scenario would involve emergency doctors calling surgeons when their patients attend the ER, she knows they are usually far too busy to do that, not to mention reluctant to call surgeons late at night or on weekends.

“Emergency doctors are awesome, they’re doing their best, but they are overworked. Still, this is an issue about the need for better communication so no one should be afraid to pick up the phone or notify surgeons who may want to know what the problem is and how to rectify it.”

McDonald said further research is taking a deeper dive into the data.

A few months ago, another B.C. study showed that this province has the second highest hospital readmission rate in the country. Hospital readmission rates are a marker of health system performance and add substantial costs to hospitals.

The national average for urgent, unplanned readmissions for medical problems like mental health issues, cancer, heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is 9.1 per cent. But the B.C. rate is 9.6 per cent while Saskatchewan has the highest rate — at 9.9 per cent.

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