A View of Death by Murder in Seniors Homes

I was saddened at the news of the death of a Senior Resident who was killed by another Resident of that Home in the Toronto area.  A seventy-five year old gentleman assaulted and killed a seventy-two year old woman who was also a Resident and inflicted injuries on a ninety-two year old woman.  He has been charged with second degree murder and assault.

Did it have to be that way?

There are a number of cautionary statements that should be made for those who read these accounts or listen to them on the news, but before I address them, I need to tell you a story about my personal experience with violent Residents.

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I was the acting Director of a Long Term Facility, and we admitted a gentleman to one of our units.  The assessment by CCAC and admission history from the family did not indicate a potential for violence.  In fact he was delightful and seemed happy with his room with its large view window and naturally a little shy.

I went to welcome him when he was admitted and again at the evening meal to introduce him to his table mates help him feel some level of comfort.  He was pleasant.  But one late afternoon all that changed.  He suddenly became aggressive, and ranting and swinging and tried to get out of a second storey window.

The staff reacted perfectly, removing all other residents who may be at risk, keeping constant contact with the man and directing others to call the police.  He was safely removed from the Home to the psychiatric unit at a local hospital.

After a time (I am not sure of how many weeks as I naturally don’t have exact notes to refer to) the hospital, CCAC, Social Workers, Psychiatrist all wanted to have a meeting to discuss his return to the Home.  I took a stand that this man still posed a risk to the rest of our fragile population.  Everyone else took a stand that he was safe to return but could not promise me that he was in fact ‘safe’.  There were actually a number of meetings, by phone with the hospital, discharge planning, and CCAC.  They were mad and frustrated and I was standing firm.

*Please note that explanations of how the LTC system works would involve a great deal of information and could not possibly be disseminated in one article.  It is a complicated and complex system, and I caution you not to make judgements based on who says what and suggested ‘solutions’ from a myriad of sources.

Anyway, the hospital wanted him out.  Hospital administrations are under a great deal of pressure not to allow patients to stay one day longer than what the Ministry perceives as necessary.  As a result, the old pendulum effect is that many people are discharged too early which leads to its own problems.  I argued that this gentleman should be put on a general medical floor with other patients to see how he managed – which led to a very loud roar of ‘how dare you suggest something so reasonable you idiot.’

While this struggle went on our staff were busy.  My nurses, some of who were among the best I have ever seen, along with our Social Worker were seeking a solution that would allow re-entry.  He was not judged as evil or bad but as a resident we/they truly cared about and wanted to see safe and happy.

They closely examined all the information we had about him, and finally pieces of the puzzle came together.  He was a boy of about nine when Nazi Germany occupied his country.  He had seen his best friend killed by soldiers.  He lived his youth in justified fear and in his aging mind he began to live in the reality of those days and at times could not distinguish between now and then.  We were unable to understand his ramblings in his native tongue at the time of ‘the episode’, but gradually some things became clearer.  He did not see himself as the aggressor but a victim.  The staff in uniform he viewed as the enemy.  He was not trying to commit suicide when trying to get out of the window –a consideration that had to be made if only to rule it out – but was trying to escape danger. It is interesting to note that while the committees and Drs. insisted this fellow had no violent episodes in hospital, a quiet chat on the side with staff actually doing the care revealed that he was  not violent because he was restrained physically and pharmaceutically, something that is prohibited in Long Term Care Facilities.

What happened is that a bed became available on one of our secure units and he was admitted there.  More staff specially trained in cognitive function and dysfunction embraced his welcome and for a while he was fine.  Eventually he was moved to another secure unit and again in time began resort to aggression again.  By that time I was on my way out and the solution lay with other brighter fresher minds.

The purpose of telling that story is to let you know the potential for deadly action and reaction by Residents is there every day, and the solutions are not so easy.

When something like this happens it becomes a blame game.  The unions, in this instance CUPE, starts yelling about needing more staff, the administration gets blamed for non-action on Ministry findings *and let me tell you there is a lot wrong with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario who list findings of non-compliance which may in truth be minor or major but are at times like this with no regard to severity.  As a matter of fact I believe their standards were created to CYA (cover your ass) or actually their asses when something does go wrong.  ‘Not our fault’.

Too much in Health Care today is about finger pointing somewhere else instead of taking responsibility.

Unions, or anyone else who pounds their fists and shrieks when an incident occurs, take the easy way out.  More Funding.  More Staff.  More more more.  I would suggest in fact that MORE is not what we need.  I would suggest that every level right down to the front line direct care level has become about, ‘Not our fault’.

I would suggest that layers of management structured to justify position and documentation need to be stripped bare. 

RNs need to be back on the floor, not doing QA reports, company reports, ministry reports, but front line assessing and directing care, teaching, coaching, and mentoring.  The MOHLTC has made reflection of care an idiots game of using the right words or turn of phrase and God help you if you fail to put it ‘just right’.  Documentation does not reflect care, it is purposefully complex.  Get back to basics.

Staff in this current case documented over a long period of time the violence and potential violence of this particular gentleman – their way of saying, ‘not my fault’.

Senior administration will blame those below who will argue, well we told you.

People are so busy justifying and avoiding blame or responsibility the actual front line care is compromised.  When a budget has to be cut it is the front line that suffers.  This is a truth, and the fact is that somewhere above that front line another position for the justification of moneys will probably be created.

I believe the surprise at this deadly event is not that it occurred but that it has not occurred more often.

For many people old age and dementias of one sort or another leads them to live in a younger time, not just in memory but in actuality.  Many years ago one woman in LTC would shriek absolutely terrified during her shower.  It turned out she was a survivor of Nazi death  camps which gave the term ‘shower ‘ a whole new meaning.  There are still survivors of wars who relive those events again and again.  Residents who never experienced war but lived through spousal abuse relive the moments.  The good old days for many are in fact the bad old days and once they take up residence in those aging brains the reality changes.

The company who owns this particular Home is a good company, they have to be to have survived and thrived in this particular atmosphere that challenges and prevents really addressing the problems.

All I can say is don’t be too quick to judge or believe anything written or reported in this situation.  We don’t know the specifics and the answer is not clean and neat.

Long Term Care in Ontario needs a completely new approach, one so daring that it might undermine the comfortable justification not my fault approach of today.  Somewhere out there are people who know what has to be done and hopefully they will be brave enough to step up and take on the misguided leaders and politics in this very sick system.  Just remember that in spite of this – good care is being delivered, Residents are being kept safe.  But I do find myself wondering if this is just because of plain old dumb luck or if perhaps we will be brave enough to make the changes.

One thing I am pretty sure of – good care and safety are a result of our front line workers who persist under a cumbersome system because they do really care.

A Personal Post

World War II poster from Canada

World War II poster from Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not sure that anyone outside ‘the family’ would be interested in this particular post, so don’t feel bad if you pass it by.

Today when looking through some of my writings I came across copies of letters my father had sent to his mom in 1943, and one letter from his younger brother Dick to him.  My father enlisted in the army in 1941 when he was seventeen years old.  Not at all unusual for young fellas back then to enlist underage and to be accepted to go to war.   The Second World War was firmly entrenched and in its second year.  The government made enlisting sound exciting, patriotic and gosh darn it, the right thing to do.

A year later, August 6, 1942 my uncle Dick sent my Dad a letter to his training site in Niagara on the Lake in Ontario.  A few months later my Dad was sent overseas.  These letters are of interest to me of course, because they are a link to a time and people I never knew.  My uncle at the time was about fourteen years old.  It is a nice little look at the times. Spelling, grammar and stroke outs are as in the letter.

The envelope is addressed:  Pri Raymond Gingerich

Reg. No. A-76033 C. Comp

Scots Fusiliers of Canada

Niagara on the Lake M.P.O. 203

Dear Raymond,

I received your letter last night and I would have answered then but didn’t have time.  The scouts went swimming at the pool, and but I didn’t have much fun.  I passed my swimming test and now I just have a couple more tests to pass and I’ll be a second class scout.  I have quite lots of fun these days.  Ostell’s are back from Wo Wasaga beach and now I have someone to play with because I don’t pl;ay with Stan Flaherty anymore because of his “old man”.  One day Stan and I were behind Flaherty’s with some water in bottles and old man Flaherty said, “It is only babys that play with water,” and I said, “goo” and he sold told me to get home and I said it will take a hell of a lot more than him to make me, so I don’t play with Stan anymore.  I would like to be up tere if there is lots of fishing and especially swimming.

Last night when we were at the pool I met a nifty girl and when I was diving off of the board I was loo looking at her when I hit the water I almost killed myself.  I am enjoying my holidays but thery will soon be over and school will starts start again; although I think we will have more fun this year because I will  have more fun this years because I will have old lady Neu Neuman for my teacher.  Please excuse all thos those strokes up there but I wrote one line twice.

We, meaning Johnny Ostell and I are going to save our money to go on hikes this summer and we may get lost and wander down to the canal so if we do , (we will) come and see you.  We are going on a hike some time next week and we have everything cha planned to go to the other side of Preston and we  ,if we get tired we will thumb and if I get a ride with a guy thats going to you yu vicinity I’ll go with him and I not worrying (were about where to sleep or coming back.

Oh, well enough of fooling because I wouldn’t even start to get to Niagara because I likely wouldn’t be ablt to find you anyhow.  Well, I guess I will say So long because I want to try and write to Harry yet to-day sooo……..

So Long,

Your brother

Dick

P.S. I wish you the best with the farmer’s daughter **(drawing of fingers crossed here)

Adios

write soon

So – Long

 

Following in the footsteps…..Jaime

I have a few, well quite a few blogs I read everyday – must read everyday even when I cannot find the time to blog or actually have nothing to say. (Who ever thought such a thing could happen to  me?)

What has me stymied is that many bloggers actually have a system or plan to what they post and for the life of me I cannot find a personal theme and through my own good taste read only the best of the best.  (This statement may not be 100% accurate as one cannot possibly read every blog to determine the best.  Let’s just say everyone I have on my list excels.)  Amazingly enough it is the excellence of my bloggers that has made me feel a certain degree of shyness in putting my own contributions forward and the frequency of my posts and my writing in general has suffered mightily.  So still feeling overwhelmed by the sharing the stage with the greats I have pledged to return to blogging daily in the hopes that my personal genre will become evident since not writing at all has done nothing good for me. Nuts, there I go getting off track.  I guess what I am trying to say – short story long is that for a bit I would like to follow in the footsteps of these great folk. The order of presentation from day to day is not related to best first since I consider all I read ‘best’.

Today I am looking at Jaime who has a couple of things going regularly one of which is her ‘What I learned this week’ series.  Now I don’t have the patience to choose articles over a week but there is usually one day of the week in which the news reported seems just plain ridiculous and begs comment.

1)  Food Fetish Teacher * previous post of The Ontario College of Teachers   I have long had an issue with this College for its ability to hide teachers’ crimes from the public.  There have been changes – thankfully or rather nauseatingly.  Gavin Bradford lost his licence for inappropriate sexually laced on-line  web cam conversations WITH AT LEAST 21 OF HIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS.  Sorry about the shouting but the worst part is that this all happened in 2006.  Investigations started in 2007 a full year before this jerk actually resigned.  Shame, shame, shame on you College of Teachers.  Obviously child safety in Ontario, Canada matters everywhere except in the school system where children spend their whole childhood.

2)  Beware the libraries in Ontario.  Seems that sniffer dogs (specializing in bed bugs) have picked up the scent of BEDBUGS in our libraries.  While no live bedbugs were found in the books, the eggs were.  I immediately thought of my friend who loves her library.  She will be weirded out.  Too bad they can’t teach sniffer dogs to dig up fetish freaks in education.

3)  “Slut walk returns”.  Never heard of this before and I immediately pictured something like Hollywood’s walk of fame and wondered if the city was building a special walkway for local sluts but discovered instead it is a walk to combat sexual violence and victim blaming.  I wonder if sexual violence to non-sluts is also covered?

4) “Cops bust 154 drivers in Binbrook”  Nice.  Too bad they did not put the same effort into busting bad teachers.

Well that pretty much covers today.  There probably is more but to tell you the truth I am sick of news for now.  At least I did not come across anything about TomKat divorce.  I know I would not be able to keep my breakfast down on that one.

 

Oh Mark, I’m So Excited! And I Just Can’t Hide It!

Oh Mark, I’m So Excited! And I Just Can’t Hide It!

Do you get the point? Er… Pointer Sisters…uh… I am sure I can be excused for ..for whatever I am trying to say and not accomplishing it well.  

Tomorrow, that is TOMORROW the Mark Pakulak, yes THE self proclaimed IDIOT at http://redriverpak.wordpress.com, the same gent who now has more than 1.4 million hits on his site is pseudo biking through the very city I am in…Hamilton!! with a capital H!  That’s Hamilton Ontario!

I knew I moved here for a reason a few weeks ago..I just knew it, even though I didn’t know it at the time but Mr. P. the Big I would never have come to the city I was in before.  It is fate, kismet, fate again!

Why do I love thee? let me count the ways…..

1) okay he is ridiculously funny, falling on the floor, releasing bodily fluids and blaming it on the dog funny

2) he was a nurse…a nurse!  like me!  Please this alone has to say something..more fate stuff

3) he lives in Texas, the same state I lived in for a couple of years! He in the north, me in the south…BUT the same state..Wow!

4) he has a long suffering family who put up with his shenanigans …JUST like me!

5) he bikes hundreds, even thousand of miles..uh I don’t but I believe I could..someday

6) he has and continues to battle medical disasters and personal challenges with grace and humor and courage….well me too if I exaggerate a lot..

7) he loves Skittles and I have never had one..so that means more for my hero!

*I wish to assure Mrs. P that I will contain my adoration and stalker like tendency until The Idiot is safely away.  Although I cannot promise I will not suddenly turn up in the neighborhood sometime.  She has my undying adoration for she must truly be the great woman behind the great man!

Tonight’s the night we’re gonna make it happen,

Tonight we’ll put all other things aside.

Give in this time and show me some affection,

We’re going for those pleasures in the night.

I want to love you, feel you,

Wrap myself around you.

I want to squeeze you, please you,

I just can’t get enough,

And if you move real slow,

I’ll let it go.

I’m so excited,

And I just can’t hide it,

I’m about to lose control

And I think I like it.

I’m so excited,

And I just can’t hide it,

And I know, I know, I know, I know

I know I want you, want you.

We shouldn’t even think about tomorrow,

Sweet memories will last a long long time.

We’ll have a good time baby don’t you worry,

And if we’re still playing around boy that’s just fine.

Let’s get excited,

And we just can’t hide it,

I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.

I’m so excited,

And I just can’t hide it,

And I know, I know, I know, I know

I know I want you, want you. 

Originally performed by The Pointer Sisters (Ruth, Anita, & June Pointer)

The group was formed in Oakland California in the late 60s

They were discovered and signed to a recording contract while performing as backup singers for Elvin Bishop in a California nightclub

There were originally four sisters in the group, but Bonnie Pointer left in 1978 to pursue a solo career

June Pointer died of cancer 4/11/06 after a two year struggle with the disease.  Her place in the touring lineup had been assumed by Ruth’s daughter Issa 

The song first hit the charts in 1982 and made it to #30 on the Top 40 charts

It was used in the 1982 movie “Summer Lovers”

Re-released in 1984 with a somewhat different mix, it went to #9 on the charts and has been a favorite ever since

The 1984 version was the 13th of their 16 Top 40 hits for the group

The song was selected as one of the “Songs of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  It was ranked #264 out of 365 songs

In 1993 the song was used in the movie “Hot Shots Part Deux”

Family History Mystery

My great grandmother, Annie Dolly (Dorothy) Frampton was born February 14, 1884 at 4 Poole Rd. in the Subdistrict of South Hackney in the County of Middlesex England.

 A certified copy of her Entry of Birth obtained in June 25, 1963 lists her father as Francis Frampton whose occupation was listed as Commercial Traveler.

 Her mother was listed as Edith Frampton formerly Davies. Annie’s birth was registered on April 18, 1884.

 A google search shows Annie Frampton born 1884.  A search under her father’s name of Francis only reveals the birth of perhaps one Francis born 1842.  I don’t know if this could be him as he would have been 42 yrs when she was born.

 The search for her mother shows one name of Edith Davies born 1847. It could be her as she would have been 37 yrs.

 It is unknown what happened to Annie or her family but four short years later there is a certified document from Dr. Barnado’s Homes: National Incorporated Association, obtained Dec. 14, 1944 stating that Annie Dolly Frampton came from England to Canada under the auspices of THE ANNIE MACPHERSON HOME, Stratford Ontario (which had amalgamated with the Dr. Barnardo Homes) July 1888.

 How was she orphaned?  What happened to you Annie?

In my research I came across excerpts from a book written by Kenneth Bagnell on the orphans who came to Canada and how badly they were treated. My heart breaks as I think of what it was like not only for four-year-old Annie but all the thousands of orphans who were imported for cheap labor.

Over eighty thousand children were sent over through different agencies.  Their intentions were good thinking to send the children to better lives.  Many years later the program was stopped when facts of abuse and slavery were revealed.

 Annie MacPherson’s part in the Bagnell’s story says the children were aged nine to eighteen but of course this cannot be accurate since my great grandmother was just four years old.

 Somehow she came to live with the White family as a maid where she married the only son.

 I have a very aged parchment certifying Robert White was born in the Parish of Glasgow Scotland.  The parchment is his military discharge paper.  He enlisted in the Horse Guards on April 17, 1858 at the age of 26.  He was honorably discharged March 30, 1859 after paying twenty pounds and had been in service for three hundred and forty-seven days.  I have no information how he came to settle in Ontario.  Yet.  He had one son, James Henry White.

 I have the original marriage certificate of James Henry White and Annie Dorothy Frampton dated December 20, 1899 in Stratford Ontario.  My future great grandmother was fifteen years old.

My great uncle Jack used to tell a story his father told him how after the wedding James’ mother told Annie to get out of the nice wedding clothes and get back to work. James reportedly said that his wife was no one’s maid and he promptly packed her up and headed of to a life together.

 My most immediate thought right now is: and we think we have it tough?

 “The little immigrants: the orphans who came to Canada – By Kenneth Bagnell”

 To be continued.

First Failed Flush of Love – Actually

Ah First Love

First Failed Flush of Love Actually
 
These slightly overcast hot humid July mornings sometimes serve up, in addition to a light sprinkling of temporary rain, a particular memory from a land far away, a time long ago. Actually a time long ago not so much on the land faraway, except it does seem in my mind to have been a million miles away. A land distanced by time I guess.
 
We were going on vacation to a cottage probably somewhere in the Haliburton or Muskoka region of Ontario where lakes meet forest meet city dudes for a limited week or two each year. It had to have been the late fifties, a time before, air conditioning, seat belts, road service and car radios that could receive signals outside a city limits.
 
Cars broke down all the time, or at least threatened to, but were easily fixed with a patch, hot air, or a good smack along it’s frame. I remember one trip where the engine kept overheating and the only solution was to drive with the heat blowing on max on the hottest day of the year.
 
There were seven of us that year, two parents and five kids and I cannot remember what kind of car it was but it easily accommodated four or five wee bodies. I’m thinking we were between twelve and six years old. I was the oldest and considered myself a diva of sorts without knowing that word existed, and for sure possessed that false prepubescent sophistication where really, nothing associated with family was good enough for this princess and Mom and Dad became Mother and Father and really, what kind of car we drove and where we went was below my level of interest..sigh.
 
I don’t remember much about the cottage except it must have had walls, enough bedrooms and probably and indoor loo as that is one memory that would have caught my royal attention.
 
One day on the beach, no, not white sand, probably a stony beach with large rocks lining the shore, I found myself talking to a boy. There was none of the discomfort or awkwardness that preteens often start to feel, just nice pleasant conversation. It turned out that he lived very close to my house and knew my brother. Then the conversation took a turn that screamed, ‘hormones at work here!’ but of course I would not recognize that message for a few years.
 
“How old are you?” he asked.
 
Not sure what to say here as all of a sudden it occurred to me that I did not want him to know I was just a silly kid (it seems the diva devil flees in the face of true love). After a pause I countered brilliantly with, “How old are you?” feeling much like Baby must have felt when she uttered the words, “I carried a watermelon.”
 
“Fifteen,” he replied, head down, hands in his pockets and kicking dirt with his right foot.
Whew, I knew it was safe to lie since he obviously was not fifteen.
 
“Well I’m fourteen,” and he nodded. He said that his family was going home the next day, (and mine still had a week to go), and asked if he could call me for a date sometime.
 
Our week passed and I soon forgot about the encounter but a few days after returning home I got a phone call. Now phone calls back then were rare. No one actually phoned unless there was a specific purpose to said call. And there were party lines so every conversation could be heard by most of the neighborhood.
 
Anyway, the call came on a Saturday morning and he asked if I could go to the matinee that afternoon with him?
I asked my Mom, and explained who this fellow was, and my brother corroborated his decent character, and Mom said yes.
 
I was a bit in awe at the potential of a first date but was pretty cool and calm about it, while my mother made me put on an actual dress and comb my hair (I was pretty much a tomboy like Trixie Belden then so gave no thought to ‘dressing up.’
 
Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was not particularly upset, just a little confused maybe but I had not invested any hopes and dreams in this guy so it was no biggie, although looking back; it probably was for my mother.
 
Later that day a hurried whispered call came from my suitor who apologized for not showing up because his Mom had gotten mad at him and grounded him. He sounded totally humiliated and embarrassed.
“No problem,” said I, quite sincerely and meaning it. And then I promptly forgot about it, except every now and then on a hot humid overcast, July morning, my mind does that little time travel thing, where I find myself standing on a stony beach.
 


*The ‘Actually’ series are stories of childhood and family and memories.

Thanks to Photobucket for providing photos.

My Very Personal Night with Bill Culp, Bruce Tournay and Marie Bottrell

Yup, last night we, I, rocked Seaforth Ontario.
My friends and I have been dedicated followers (groupies even!) of The Memphis Cats for a few years now and we follow any show that Bill Culp puts together and plays in.
 
Bill plays upright bass and guitar and Bruce on piano and they both sing stirring that primal beast to action that results in dance floor quaking and romance making good old rockabilly music.
 

Bill Culp

The band members take my group’s or groupies adorations to heart and love us as much as we love them (in the most platonic way of course).
 
Last night my friend Linda threw herself a retirement party and many months ago asked Bill if he would grace our little celebration with his presence. Well he came through and then some. Not only did he come, but he brought Bruce Tournay and Marie Bottrell, all award winners. In 2010 Marie was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame..who no unlike Shania did not take a tumble.
Marie specializes in Patsy Cline but rocks any song she sings as she did last night with Snowbird.
 

Marie Bottrell

Now I almost hate to start describing Bruce Tournay as it will give away more about me than I usually care to share but….the man is hot!! He could just stand there, just stand not even move and libidos are rising. He sang and played non-stop and one of the best was Billy Joel‘s Piano Man. And that is all I will say on that! Whew!

Bruce Tournay

 
Bill’s multi talents seem endless and whether it is a nice little ditty or a deep throaty sensuous serving of rock the man knows how to sing and engage the public. My sister who never dances and says she cannot dance and won’t dance, so don’t ask her, got up and strutted her stuff in wild abandon!
 
They play around the world; they play across the continent and last night these saints of savory songs played for us. And it was…..

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