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Woman eligible for care facility, inquest hears

Jun 14 2012

The caregiver for Joan Andrews told a coroner's inquest into the woman's death that she believed the 76-year-old developmentally delayed woman was on a waiting list for a long-term care facility.

Community Living B.C. caregiver Carol Craveiro, who provided a home for Andrews, testified Wednesday that after talking with a Vancouver Island Health Authority social worker in 2010, she was under the impression Andrews had been added to a waitlist, and would only remain living with her until she got a bed.

But that social worker, Hilary Mason, told the inquest Wednesday that Andrews' name was never put on a list. Mason said she believed Andrews' condition had improved, testifying that she hadn't received a formal request from Andrews to put her name on a waitlist, and so didn't proceed.

One of the key issues in the inquest into Andrews' death Feb. 10, 2011, in Craveiro's Langford home is how Community Living B.C., the provincial agency that provides help for people with developmental disabilities, works with the health authority.

The jury will be asked to make recommendations at the end of the inquest.

Andrews suffered a brain injury during birth and had the mental age of a six or seven-yearold. She was also developing agerelated health problems, including cognitive difficulties and insomnia that saw her get out of bed and wander in the night, and had suffered several falls.

Andrews lived with the Craveiro family in their CLBCapproved home from 2009 until her death. Craveiro said she found Andrews on the floor after hearing her move on a baby monitor she had in her room. The older woman, who had apparently crawled over a rail on the bed and fallen, died a short time later of a head injury.

Although she was a loved member of the family, Andrews' health problems were becoming more challenging for Craveiro, the jury heard. A physiotherapist who worked with Andrews wrote to VIHA in January of 2010, saying Andrews needed to be in a longterm care facility or group home with 24-hour care.

That triggered an assessment by Mason, the VIHA social worker and case manager, who visited the home and talked with Andrews and Craveiro. Mason concluded that Andrews was eligible for care in a group home or long-term care facility.

Craveiro visited one of the potential group homes and was unimpressed. She said it smelled of urine and made Andrews nervous and agitated. Craveiro testified that she believed a longterm-

care home was a better option for Andrews, and said she would keep caring for Andrews until a bed became available.

But Mason never took the next steps for placement, waiting for a formal request from Craveiro or Andrews. "It's one thing to be eligible, but someone has to decide," she said.

Craveiro didn't realize more had to be done and thought Andrews was on the waitlist for 24-hour care.

There is no policy that VIHA notify Community Living if someone has been added to a waitlist.

Asked by coroner's counsel John Orr if such a policy would be helpful, Mason said: "In retrospect, definitely."

The inquest continues today.

kwestad@timescolonist.com

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