Review launched after senior's home assault

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has initiated a critical incident review after a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease allegedly attacked a fellow patient at a Winnipeg care home.

Care questioned

11 years ago
The province launches a review after an Alzheimer's patient is charged with assault at a care home 2:40

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has initiated a critical incident review after a man suffering from Alzheimer's disease allegedly attacked a fellow patient at a Winnipeg care home.

The review will include a complete assessment of Joe McLeod's history in care.

The 70-year-old man is in police custody and has been charged with aggravated assault. However, he won't be there much longer.

A judge ruled Monday that McLeod should be assessed by the Health Sciences Centre’s psychiatric department. He will spend 28 days under close observation to properly determine his mental state and what facility would be best to care for him.

Officers were sent to the Parkview Place personal care home on Edmonton Street just before 10:30 p.m. on March 24 for a dispute between two residents.

It is alleged that McLeod assaulted an 87-year-old man, causing him to fall backwards and strike his head on the floor, police said.

The injured man, Frank Alexander, remained in critical condition on Monday.

Real Cloutier, the WRHA's chief operating officer, said critical incidents such as this don't happen often but "it does occur on occasion.

"To the degree of injury we are seeing here, certainly that's a rare occurance. But if it was my family member, I would say any occurance is not good."

Part of the review will look at how McLeod was assessed during his care, Cloutier said.

"In this case, Mr. McLeod was assessed as requiring a standard personal care home bed based on his history and based on his need," he said.

"It's becoming clearer that obviously that history was a bit different and obviously now we need to look at a different kind of bed."

Past incidents involving police

McLeod was also charged last fall with assault for hitting his wife, Rose, and jailed in the Remand Centre for about a month. His family lobbied for his release and was supported in their efforts by Manitoba Liberal Leader Dr. Jon Gerrard.

They said McLeod was confused at the time of the asault and didn't recognize Rose. A judge then ordered he be released on bail.

McLeod was admitted to the care home immediately after.

But in February, police were called to the home after McLeod caused a disturbance with staff.

A needs assessment was conducted soon after on that incident.

The results, which stated McLeod still qualified as requiring a standard care home bed, came back the same day he allegedly assaulted Alexander.

The assessment showed McLeod was "doing fine," Cloutier said.

"It goes to show you, you can't always predict these situations and it's obvious now he does need a different kind of bed and facility."

High percentage of dementia

Of the 5,600 personal care home residents under care by the WRHA, 80 per cent have Alzheimer's or some kind of dementia, according Cloutier.

"Just because you have Alzeimer's disease does not mean you are going to demonstrate some kind of aggressive behaviour. There are things that set people off," he said.

"What we look for is a past pattern of history that would denote what kind of bed that person should be in."

There are 391 special needs beds and 35 behavorial beds (for those most prone to violence). Patients are put in those beds based on demonstrated history and need.

Faye Jashyn, McLeod's daughter, said their family wants Alexander's family to know they are deeply sorry.

"We are supportive of them. We're not sure of the outcome of this but we wanted the family to know that our family is thinking of them," she said.

Political interference

Gerrard, who once again has become involved in McLeod's case, told CBC News a strategy is needed to deal with the challenges of Alzheimer's patients.

But Alexander's family said they wish politicians would not interfere with the medical system. 

"I'm kind of disappointed that we have politicians sticking their nose in the medical business and causing this kind of situation to happen," said Alexander's son, Douglas, who lives in Ontario.

"This man was supposed to go in prison and he's in the home and mostly through the efforts of this particular political person.

"We're really, really disappointed in that a person as aggressive as this fellow was placed in the home where my dad is — and that he wasn't being watched — and my dad got injured."

Douglas Alexander said he’s seeking legal advice while relatives wait to see what the future holds for his injured father.