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St Thomas hospital denies using threats, pressure tactics to toss out grandma

The St Thomas Elgin General Hospital has denied using threats and pressure tactics to try and toss out an 88-year-old grandmother who's been 'stuck' at their facility while waiting for a subsidized space to open up in the local nursing home her family wants.

Shirin Jamani, 88, has been 'stuck' at St Thomas Elgin General Hospital for over 3 years

Shirin Jamani, seen here in a wheelchair in the parking lot of the St Thomas Elgin Hospital in July of 2016. The 88-year-old has been in continuing care at the hospital since 2014. (supplied)

The St Thomas Elgin General Hospital has denied using threats and pressure tactics to try and toss out an 88-year-old grandmother who's been "stuck" at their facility while waiting for a subsidized space to open up in a local nursing home. 

Shirin Jamani, 88, has been languishing at the southwestern Ontario hospital for about three and a half years, ever since she was first admitted to the facility in 2014. 

We do not engage in pressure tactics nor threats.- Kimberly Boughner

During that time Liza Jamani told CBC News that the hospital has repeatedly tried to pressure her into putting her grandmother into nursing homes Jamani considers substandard.

Jamani also told the CBC that hospital administrators threatened to discharge her 88-year-old grandmother, who is suffering from dementia, from their care. Jane Meadus, a staff lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly told CBC News such a move would be illegal. 

Officials with St Thomas Elgin General Hospital would not agree to a recorded interview, despite repeated requests from CBC News. 

Hospital takes 6 days to respond by email

Shirin Jamani (left) with her grand daughter Liza Jamani (right). The pair had a photo taken when the then 78-year-old visited her grand daughter on Prince Edward Island in 2008. (Supplied)

Hospital officials responded in the form of a written statement six days after CBC News originally published Shirin Jamani's story.

"All patients across the province are encouraged to go 'home first' with the support of community services," hospital privacy officer Kimberly Boughner wrote in an email to CBC News late Wednesday night. 

"The Home First philosophy put the needs of the patient at the centre of the health care system, to proactively consider options for post-acute care, focusing on providing the right care at the right time in the right place."

"If home is not an option, patients and families are strongly encouraged to choose five long term care facilities, as hospitals are not an ideal place, unless they require acute medical care."

'Waiting for a bed in a long term care facility'

"By choosing five long term care facilities the wait time is shortened, the patient is able to move more quickly from the hospital environment to a long term care setting. If patients and families do not make five choices, the wait in hospital is naturally going to be longer."

"Currently, within the Complex Continuing Care Unit at STEGH there are over 20 patients waiting for a bed in a long term care facility," Boughner wrote.  

CBC News again requested a recorded interview from hospital officials to address allegations the hospital used pressure tactics and threats as an attempt to toss out one of its patients. 

"We do not engage in pressure tactics nor threats," Kimberly Boughner wrote. 

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca