Calgary senior's untreated bedsores spread to her bones

Violet MacDonald, 73, had bedsores on her feet and buttocks that became infected.

Case shows Alberta needs independent seniors advocate: Wildrose

Violet MacDonald, 73, died in hospital last October. (Supplied)

The case of a Calgary senior whose untreated bedsores spread to her bones has prompted calls for Alberta to have an independent seniors advocate.

Violet MacDonald, 73, lived at the McKenzie Towne Nursing Home. Her daughter Cassie Liska says staff at the nursing home never told her family about the extent of the bed sores.

It wasn’t until MacDonald was admitted to hospital in February the family learned how bad they were.

Cassie Liska talks about her mother's case during a news conference at the Alberta legislature on Monday that was organized by the Wildrose Party. (CBC )

“I'm here to tell her story today with the hope that changes can be made so nobody ever has to endure the abuse that my mother did,” Liska said at a news conference organized by the Wildrose Party on Monday. “Albertans deserve better.”

Violet MacDonald died in October.  An investigation under the Protection for Persons in Care Act found that she had not received adequate care at the nursing home.

Wildrose seniors critic Kerry Towle says the case shows why Alberta needs an independent seniors advocate.

“The only way to solve these issues is to allow an independent advocate to go in and take a look at the system, see where it's breaking down,” Towle said.

“Hear stories like Cassie's and give the people that are coming forward complete anonymity and complete protection.”

Liska agrees.

“I lived through six years of seeing just awful stuff and somebody needs to be there for everybody in those facilities,” she said.

AHS now on site

MacDonald had refused care from nurses a number of times, according to Joanne Dykeman, vice president of clinical services and quality for Revera, the company that owns the McKenzie Towne Nursing Home.

“The Protection for Persons in Care report indicates that the nurses treating Mrs. MacDonald did not want to force care upon her because that would have been considered abuse,” Dykeman said.

“The attending physician is even quoted as saying in that same report that treating her against her wishes would have constituted a fault.”

Health Minister Fred Horne doesn’t believe the province needs an independent seniors advocate.

Instead, he is expanding a review into home care now underway by the health quality council.

"The purpose of the review is to make sure we have the right checks and balances in place so we maintain a constant level of high quality across the system,” Horne said.

“I'm expanding that as of today to include all continuing care facilities in the province.”

The facility is under investigation by Alberta Health Services. Dykeman says that Revera will work to make improvements to the system.


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