More than a dozen patients at a long-term care centre in Twillingate are now living in close quarters — and not their own rooms — because newly-installed windows are letting the frigid air in and the heat out.
"They've taken the ladies and put them out in the common area and the men are now in the conference room," said Joan Gilbert, whose mom, Marie, lives at the facility which is part of the Notre Dame Bay Memorial Health Centre.
"This is serious ... I don't want my mom living in a common area, exposed. Where's her pride?"
Gilbert said it isn't a minor inconvenience that has the rooms slightly cooler.
"The wind is blowing in. They put plastic on the windows. My dad has taped the blinds down to keep the draft from coming in," she told CBC Radio's Central Morning Show.
Common area problems
Gilbert said a lack of privacy is just one of the problems her bedridden mother has faced with the move. She said the common area is also short on electrical outlets needed for the care of residents.
"My mom needs to be fed as well, so her bed needs to be plugged in so that we can put the head up and put it back down," she said, stressing her issue isn't with the staff since they're doing the best they can.
What's infuriating is that the windows letting the cold air in were installed just a few months ago, according to Glibert, who lives in St. John's.
"The issue is, word of mouth, people talking, is that they were never properly insulated," she said.
"[But] no one seems to know anything about how long it's going to take."
Central Health: privacy, care are priorities
Central Health said it is trying to figure out the precise problem.
"While residents have been moved, we are working to ensure the privacy and the comfort of residents," said Heather Brown, who is vice-president of long-term care with Central Health.
"[The health authority] is working with our maintenance and with the contractor to address whatever issue there may have been."
This is the second time in a week Central Health has faced questions over issues at one of its long-term care facilities.
A woman claimed her mother, living at Lakeside Homes in Gander, was "punched, slapped [and] scratched" during altercations with other patients and injured in falls because there are not enough employees. The health authority said it had full staffing levels.
Brown said at the Twillingate home, track curtains have been put in place to give residents some privacy while they are living in the common areas.
But for Gilbert and other family members, that's little comfort knowing their relatives are faced with choosing warmth over their own personal space.
"My dad's pretty upset. And my aunt was down with mom [earlier this week] and she said it is absolutely horrid."