Wait in hospital for long-term care bed 'isolated' elderly man

A woman says her dad has been living in Thunder Bay hospital's surgical unit for 10 months waiting for a spot in a long-term care home.

Thunder Bay woman can't understand why more facilities aren't available for non-acute-care patients

A Thunder Bay woman whose father is one of dozens of people stuck in hospital says the waiting time for long-term care in the city is unacceptable.

For the last 10 months, Alice Villa's dad's home has been a bed in the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s surgical unit.

Alice Villa and her grandson, one-year-old Zachary Lionel. She hopes it will be easier for her elderly father to visit with his great-grandchildren when he moves out of hospital into a long-term care home. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Lionel Trodd was first admitted for surgery a year ago. By last January, the 82-year-old had recovered, but couldn't go home because he needed extensive health-care support for his Parkinson's disease.   

Villa said her father was already on a waiting list for long-term care facilities before he was admitted to hospital.  

She thought he'd be discharged to a long-term care home within a couple of months, but "the reality is that there was no place available for him."

Trodd has been living in the hospital ever since.

"He's ... really very isolated," Villa said. "Other than … family members coming in, he has basically … the cleaning staff and a rotating number of ... nurses that come in and help him with his daily needs."

‘Nothing there for him’

This week, Villa finally received some welcome news when she learned her father will be soon be transferred to Pinewood Court. There, he'll have social activities to fill his days.

Villa said she is very grateful to the staff at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for taking care of her father all this time, even though he is no longer an acute-care patient. 

"When he was post-operative, he got very, very good care," she said.

"[But] as far as a place … to live your life — socialize and ... have activities and things like that — there's nothing there for him."

Villa emphasized the hospital was willing to discharge her father back in January.

But as is the case with so many others occupying acute-care beds — often called "Alternate Level of Care" or "ALC" patients — staff had to accommodate him because no appropriate extended care was available in the community.  

A treasured photo of Alice Villa's father, Lionel Trodd (left). Now 82, he's been waiting for 10 months at Thunder Bay Regional Hospital for a space in a long-term care home. (Supplied by Alice Villa)

Villa's father previously lived with her mother and had homecare, but his Parkinson's disease caused him to deteriorate to the point where he needed to be in a long-term care home. Villa's mother goes to visit her father in the hospital every day, while Villa and other family members go as often as they can.

"I really don't understand why we don't have (enough) facilities ... It's not like demographics ... aren't studied at length," Villa said about the availability of long term care in Thunder Bay.

"We have a huge ... population of elderly people who do need these facilities.  And their families need them just as much as they do."