Montreal woman upset over treatment of brother at long-term care facility

Alma Gibbs frequently visits her older brother at the long-term care residence in the LaSalle hospital.

Last week, Gibbs says she witnessed a “deplorable sight,” as her 72-year-old brother’s hands were tied to the hospital gurney.

According to medical malpractice lawyer Patrick Martin-Ménard, as a general rule, any restraining methods have to be exceptional and minimal and for good reasons.

“When you restrain someone, you breach this person’s human dignity,” Martin-Ménard said.

Restraints are only meant to be used when there is a clear threat to the person’s physical integrity or someone else’s.

By law, the family is supposed to be notified when restraints are used. However, Gibbs claims her family was not informed about her brother’s case.

Gibb alleges the hospital staff told her her brother was being slightly aggressive.

Bernard Gibbs, her brother, suffers from dementia. After undergoing gallstone surgery in May, Gibbs says her brother’s care — like his health — had deteriorated.

She says there no dignity to his care, alleging doors are left wide open while he is being changed, leaving him exposed.

Gibbs says she has confronted staff and complained.

In meetings with hospital staff, she alleges the head nurse came flat out and said, “this is a French facility.”

Martin-Ménard says this situation is “Absolutely not normal.”

In Quebec, patients are to receive care in the official language of their choice.

“Its not the person that has to adapt to the system, it’s the system that has to adapt to the person,” Martin-Ménard said.

The Montréal West Island CIUSSS, the regional health authority which speaks on behalf of the long-term care facility, issued a statement to Global News.

It says it was “surprised by the allegations given the strict policies and procedures on the use of restraints, which are used in exceptional circumstances.”

“In case of emergency, alternative measures are implemented, such as adding an orderly to prevent the risk of the resident falling while the family and the physician are contacted,” the statement continued.

The Montréal West Island CIUSSS said bilingual staff is always available should communication issues arise. It asks if there are issues to contact the unit’s head co-ordinator.

“It is very, very important for people who can’t speak for themselves to be looked upon as human beings and take them seriously,” Gibbs said.

A complaint has been filed and Gibbs says she will continue to advocate for her brother as he cannot advocate for himself.

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