Nova Scotia

Kings Regional Rehab plan to discharge disabled man appals parents

The parents of a 24-year-old man who has a mental disability and requires around-the-clock specialized care say they're stunned he is being discharged from the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre with just a week's notice and no place to live.

'They called up and said they could no longer care for him and he was being released,' mother says

The parents of a 24-year-old man with a mental disability who requires around-the-clock specialized care say they're stunned he is being discharged from the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre with just a week's notice and no place to live.

Landon Webb, who functions at the level of a 10 to 12-year-old, has been declared incompetent by the courts. He also has epilepsy, heart disease, asthma, and language and anxiety disorders.

"We were shocked because we all had an understanding he would remain in the Kings facility until such time a small option bed was available, but obviously that changed," his mother Brenda Webb told CBC News.

"They called up and said they could no longer care for him and he was being released."

The facility, located in Waterville, treats people with intellectual disabilities, cognitive challenges and chronic mental illness.

An advocate for people with mental disabilities in care says Landon Webb's pending release from the Kings facility is unacceptable and he will be at risk in the community because he is vulnerable.

"It's unfathomable that whoever is looking after his care plan thinks that this is OK," says Brenda Hardiman, chair of Advocating Parents of Nova Scotia. 

Unsupervised access to community

Brenda Webb said police have been called more than 100 times since July to locate her son, who is allowed to go into the community unsupervised, something she and her husband have opposed.

"Not being supervised when you're an incompetent person can lead to him being at risk and others being at risk, so there's a lot of negative potentials in that," she said, adding he can be gone for hours, days or weeks.

She said the unsupervised outings have led her son to connect with unsavoury characters and have fuelled his drug use, a problem he had when he entered the facility.

She says the Kings facility has not addressed her son's drug problem and it has escalated because he's been allowed out without supervision. Her son, she says, "doesn't have the ability and insight" to deal with the problem on his own.

Webb described her son as "significantly low functioning" and said "he doesn't have good judgement, so predators will prey on him because he's a vulnerable person."

"We'd like to be able to sleep at night," Webb said. "We don't want to spend our whole lives worrying about him on a constant basis."

'He has a right to have a home like any other person'

She said it's impossible for him to return home because he requires full time, specialized care. The family's primary focus is to get a plan in place to find him a small option home suitable to his needs.

"He has a right to have a home like any other person," said Webb, who is hoping the matter will be resolved next week so "my son doesn't land out on the street somewhere."

That won't happen, according Lorna MacPherson, the director of the disability support program at the Department of Community Services, who would not comment on this case.

"To any family I would say we would not see, and I know a service provider would not see, an individual being put out on the street," she told CBC News.

She said staff work closely with the individual and the family to work out a plan to transition to a residential setting, adding "the consideration about what is appropriate and the level of support the individual requires is certainly central to all the planning."

She wouldn't comment on whether there have been cases in the past where a facility discharged someone because they were unable to care for them.

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