Inquest report into death of senior in care home finds wait for beds 'not acceptable'

An inquest report into the 2011 death of Frank Alexander, 87, who was killed by another resident in a care home, says more beds and funding is needed to provide better care for patients with violent or aggressive tendencies.

Inquest recommends changes to health-care system after 2011 homicide of Frank Alexander, 87

Frank Alexander died from blunt head trauma after being pushed at a senior's home in 2011. (Courtesy of the Alexander family)

An inquest into the death of Frank Alexander, 87, who was killed by another resident in a care home, says wait times are too long and more beds are needed to provide better care for patients with violent or aggressive tendencies. 

The inquest report found that there are not enough beds in Winnipeg for high risk patients and that wait times can be as much as one year, which is "not acceptable."

In 2011, at the time of Alexander's death, the waiting list for such a bed was six to 12 months.

Alexander died of blunt head trauma after he was pushed by Joe McLeod, who was 70 at the time. Both men were living in Parkview Place care home in March of that year.

Alexander was sent to hospital and later transferred to Riverview Health Centre where he died of his injuries.​

McLeod, who had Alzheimer's disease, was charged with aggravated assault and the charge was later upgraded to manslaughter.

McLeod was found unfit to stand trial and was transferred to Selkirk Mental Health Centre. He has since passed away.

40 people on wait list

The inquest report said more than 40 people are on a waiting list in Winnipeg for a high-risk bed and that number has been on the rise in the past four years.

The report calls for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Department of Health to increase the number of behavioural units and ensure patients wait no more than 60 days to access a bed. 

There is not enough funding for construction of new facilities, the report outlined, but it's recommending "creative solutions" be found to meet the demand.

The inquest also recommended personal care homes create special wards for people with violent behavioural tendencies and that the wards be locked so individuals could not wander throughout the facility.

The inquest report found that McLeod was left out of the system once his file was closed after he refused to get home care. 

His daughter Faye Jashyn tried to get her father home care assistance after his health began to deteriorate.  

The inquest recommended that once a request for home care is declined by a patient with dementia that the file be left open to be re-visited every three months.

Jashyn said she's satisfied with the recommendations in the report and hopes that it gets more people talking about Alzheimer's disease.

"I'm hoping that it stays as a topic for people to discuss. I'm hoping that it doesn't fade away, because I hear of incidents from other people, I get calls from other people saying 'help me, I don't know what to do.'"

Jashyn also said she hopes the recommendations are implemented in the system as soon as possible.

"I do hope it stays on the agenda of the province and that it doesn't fall through the cracks the way my dad did."

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