‘A waste of health care funds’ — dementia patient languishes in hospital because of a shortage of long-term care beds

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“The thing that I find tragic is that this has been going on since July and Kris is taking up an acute care bed from some other deserving patient,” Zofia said. “Maybe he needed the two weeks it took to stabilize him at The Royal, but the rest of the time he could have been in a more appropriate place.”

Krzysztof’s time at the Civic was “appalling,” she said. The secure psychiatric ward isn’t equipped to care for geriatric patients and he would often be left alone in his room for hours at a time, often in a wet diaper and urine-soaked clothes because he was unable to get himself to the bathroom.

“This is a clinical teaching hospital in the capital of the country,” she said. “His clothes would be soaked. His t-shirt would be soaked. He was reeking of urine. He shouldn’t be left in diapers for eight hours. These are things that I would never, ever imagine would happen in a hospital.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation even worse, she said. The Civic’s few private rooms were used to isolate patients, meaning her husband was moved to five different rooms in the two months he was there, something highly disruptive for a person with dementia. He grew more aggressive and the hospital was forced to post a security guard outside his door.

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Unlike most of the patients on the ward, Krzysztof was completely dependent on the nurses and orderlies for his care.

“People who have psychiatric problems can find a magazine to read or look at a television. They can self direct. My husband requires more. He was left in the room with nothing to do. I’m not faulting the staff. That’s the type of floor it is. But he should not have been on that floor.”

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