“Who do you want?” The voice at the end of the central line asked irritated (250.658.6407).
Beth: “The supervisor’s manager please, I’d like to make a complaint.”
“They aren’t here.”
B: “Um, yes they are, it is ten minutes until end of shift (4:50 pm). I’m naked, I’m on the floor, I need oxygen, I haven’t water or food, nor have I had care for two days. I’d like to make a complaint.”
“(sigh) They are here, but they don’t want to talk to anyone, they are off soon.”
“Who DO I talk to about complaints”
(pause) “I’ll put you through”
CLICK “You have reached the voice mail of Beacon Community Services, please input the four digit number of the person you are trying to talk to…or press zero to return”
(different voice), “Hello”
B: “Hello, I called to make a complaint but was put into the voicemail system, can I please speak to a manager.”
“They have all gone home.”
B: “It is 4:55 and they were there five minutes ago.”
(long pause), “They don’t take calls after 4:30”
“I am naked. Naked. I haven’t eaten in two days. The worker (temp as regular is on vacation) didn’t come yesterday.”
Night RN: “Hello?”
“Hi, My name is Elizabeth McClung and I’m naked and on the floor, I have no water, I have had no water, I am desperate.”
Long pause, “Elizabeth….you had care today.”
“Yes, and though I asked and asked, she didn’t give me water…or food…or panties. In fact I spent a 33 minute conversation with a manager there about it. Do you know who that was?”
“No. This is the night nurse, I can’t do anything for you.”
“I’m helpless, I have had no water, which my condition requires, no oxygen though it was asked for repeatedly, and no food, and I’m naked. NAKED.”
“No, you’ve had your care. I could send someone to you.”
Beth: “Thank you.”
Night RN: “…except you are three hours over for this month.”
B: “I am over for the month coming up?”
“How can I be ‘over’ for care for the next three weeks of care I haven’t even gotten? Can’t you take some off.”
Night RN: “That is not Policy.”
B: (desperately) “Did you count that worker that NEVER CAME yesterday? And the worker that had two manager calls on them today? The one who didn’t give water?”
Night RN: “No, you had care today.”
I start to talk but am cut off as she continues, “I’m the night RN, I can’t discuss policy.”
B: “So should I tell emergency that ‘Beacon sent me?’”
RN confused: “What do you mean.”
B: “When I call 911, do you want me to tell them that ‘Beacon Home Services told me call.’”
RN: “But it isn’t an emergency.”
B: “I am end stage with a neuromuscular disease, with no oxygen, and I have had no food or water for two days, I’m stuck naked on the floor and according to you and the manager I want to complain about, I’ve HAD ‘care’.”
RN: “Can you hold on?”
15 minutes later, Linda comes over, and put on the oxygen, and asks me what I am doing. I try to tell her, she gets the drift. After finding out how long I’ve been on hold she says, “I’ll call them on the cell phone, they sometimes just put you on hold if they want to get rid of you.”
Beth: “No. Really?”
Linda gets through, “Hello, my partner Elizabeth McClung called you 15 minutes ago, can you tell me where you are in regards to resolution of that issue? Oh?”
The never ending hold music suddenly ends, and the night RN is back, “I’m going to try to connect you with someone.” She says and leaves me wondering what she was doing before.
I finally connect to Supervisor Rational. In fact that’s what I say, “Thank you! You’re the Rational one.”
I had talked to two supervisors, one when the care worker was there for an hour, a new and temp worker (as I was still naked, I had no water and no food, nor did it look like I was going to get a bed transfer and after five asking for water to which she said yes, no water), and the second when she refused to leave or help but OCD’d on washing the same dish over and over again (which I think might be why she is available for filling in for vacation shifts). This was the first supervisor, who had told her to get me water, food and clothes, and authorized extra time. I explained that she didn’t, but would just keep washing over and over again, and when I called in to report this I was threatened by the Beacon supervisor who said ‘Now dishes has been a reoccurring problem, you aren’t asking her to do dishes used by Linda?”
“No,” I told her, “I asked her NOT to do the dishes, the note Linda left asked her NOT to do the dishes, I need WATER, it hot day after day and I haven’t had water for two days, or care, I need water.”
Wacko Supervisor: “It still seems that the dishes are a problem though.”
B: “Has ANYONE made a complaint of dishes? I know of only one complaint of dishes THREE YEARS ago, and you saw my apartment, I have exactly 26 inches of counter space…how many dishes is that?”
Wacko Supervisor: “Yes, three years, an on-going problem.”
The next 33 minutes were spent with the supervisor reading my care plan which says lines like “please do not rip chunks of hair out of Client’s scalp when brushing”, and asking me where the care plan was, then going into a panic because it is in a red holder on the fridge when the folder is yellow. There was much furious typing about whether it was at ‘eye level’ or not. Care? No. But I passed out so I guess that is how the call ended, as I have no memory.
Rational Supervisor: “So she didn’t get you any of those things?”
B: “No. I asked for panties three times, but no go, water five. No, no food or water, or clothing assist or oxygen.”
“We’ll make sure never to send her again.”
B: “Yes, but again, now past 5:30, no food, no water, and no one yesterday.” I pointed out that when Beacon came to force me to sign waiver on all task 2 for workers (like if they give me triple the amount of drugs and kill me, they aren’t liable – if you don’t sign it, you don’t get care), I got a signature from them which accepted all liability for task 1, which includes food, water, oxygen, dressing, showers, etc. How did they want to pay? In court? With VIHA? Or could I get someone to HELP ME.
By this time I was exhausted and Linda took over. The individual was to call her back by 7:20, so she could get a nap. He called later and then asked if I was lying, “We are having some inaccuracy in reports.” Well, yes because when I told the worker after almost two hours that the manager wanted to talk to her, she opened the fridge instead and took out the water and said she had been trying to get me water. Linda confirmed that no, no one had come yesterday and that I was paralyzed all day due to the pain and heat locking my nerves and muscles and could just lie in bed in pain for 27 hours, not even sleeping. And that she had found that the worker had taken the note, folded it and put it aside, including the writing on it, “Do NOT do dishes”. Wacko Supervisor had earlier been obsessed with the fact that she didn’t have a copy of the note, can that I fax to her.
“Well, I’m on the floor…”
Wacko S: “I’ll try and get it from the case manager….”
It has been rather up and down here, if up means down and then further down. I didn’t think anything could be worse than those hours lying there, unable to cool off enough to sleep, in extreme pain. Not able to drink Tuesday, I was desperate to drink on Wednesday, if only the worker knew how to pour water. Am I dehydrated? Check. Have I not eaten a meal since Monday? Check. (Linda did break three small lemon cookies into my mouth, and watched to make sure I didn’t choke on them, at 4:00 am Wednesday Morning, as I couldn’t use my arms or hands). Are my fingertips purple, and hands dusky with the last two fingers purple to dark blue/black? Check.
How do you avoid this from happening if you are alone as I am most days? Check into a facility EXCEPT not just EVERY worker but others who get care from Beacon say, “Do NOT check into a facility…if you want to live.”
Why then could not Beacon Home Support send someone over to do what the person was sent to do, help me get in bed, get water and food? Because according to them, the worker HAD been sent, and if they didn’t do the tasks, as the Wacko Supervisor and RN Night said, “That is something we look into and get back to you?”
Beth: “When? Like Tomorrow, two days, three days? How many days until I can get underwear?”
Previously, when asking the Executive Assistant of Beacon Home Support of the CEO Isobel Mackenzie (also trustee for the Victoria School Board, so enjoy..) if ANY worker had been let go for incompetence, she said she was unaware of a single incident. Wacko Supervisor had told me that if my workers couldn’t understand me or English, to have them call her. Which begs two questions: why send workers who can’t understand English to a residence with all notes in English and two, how am I supposed to tell them to call her?
Because Beacon is subcontracted by VIHA, a government body, even though Beacon Care is the ONLY care support for the City, there is no way to make an official complaint. As only those in VIHA can have a complaint done against them (though due to backlog, the 30 day required has been stretched to six months or longer for a reply). So there is no complaint system in place at Beacon. And though it is requirement on paper that VIHA not Beacon if annual ‘satisfaction’ surveys are not done payment should not be made to Beacon. But none have been done as long as I have been able to find anyone receiving or giving care. The Manager at Beacon said it was ‘due to cost’.
When the file for a person with a known late stage neuro-muscular illness (they were aware of my status in the limbo of entry into pallative care – requiring letters from many people away on vacation) shows up and they say they are on the floor, and haven’t eaten, drunk water, or received the oxygen the condition requires they say they ‘can’t’ send anyone. Why? They ‘project’ my care will be 3 hours over the allotted hours by June 30th, so no one can give me a drink NOW, not until the NEXT care worker comes. And since the worker came then those hours are credited against my hours, whether they worked or not. And it is a policy and no they can’t explain it or discuss it.
The network of family caregivers and those receiving care paint a picture that would result in a class action suit in the USA, as they service over 6,000 ‘clients’. But knowing for example that I need oxygen, the Wacko Supervisor had me talking for 33 minutes until I passed out. The more they talk, the closer to 5:00…..I mean 4:30 and end of shift. While no regular staff is on during evening or night, when the highest amount of medical problems will occur.
I have the strongest feeling against hypocrisy and wonder if Beacon’s parking lot even HAS a blue badge spot (if typical of Victoria that would be a no). However, besides the half dozen thrift stores, several care centers, homes, meals on wheels and all ‘client’ care (but no way to make official complaints?), Beacon now issues the Blue Badges required for parking.
Linda says they don't have Blue Badge spots as they don't like 'Client's visiting the offices. She worked hard to find the parking lot at all.
Beacon also is in charge of Triumph, the 'agency' that is supposed to help those with disabilities find jobs (they don't), but has no contacts, no lists, just the 'behavoir training' written about on the BBC in from subhuman to able bodied (one of many experiences with Triumph, they changed the 'contact' webpage after being linked in the BBC)
Beacon RN’s, managers and supervisors who have forgotten that it is people not numbers, and people who are at their most vulnerable and desperate, need the kind of fiscal spanking and humiliation that they so oft provide (at a cost of $35 an hour) to their clients. The imp in me wishes to get better so that with an outline and a spray paint can of blue they would arrive one day to find no parking…..as every spot in the lot has magically turned to a blue badge spot.
3 hours ago