Family wants health care for ailing mom in the Comox Valley

Family wants health care for ailing mom in the Comox Valley

A Comox Valley family says it has been given an ultimatum: move their mom to a health facility in Victoria or start paying. Kendall Hanson report. 

The road to recovery is proving to be a long one for Helen Tomaszewski.

The 59-year old has spent the past five months at St. Joe’s Hospital in the Comox Valley following a fall, which led to brain bleed and other health issues.

But hospital officials say her time at the facility is coming to an end.

“I don’t know what they want us to do,” says her daughter Melissa Horler. “We (the family) are at our wit’s end.”

The hospital sent a letter saying she needs to be transferred to a community care facility within 30 days.

Island Health wants to send Tomaszewski to the Glengarry Transitional Care Unit in Victoria.

If not, the family faces a $1,400 a day charge for her to stay where she is.

“She can not live outside of the Comox Valley,” Horler said.

“The biggest reason is because she needs an advocate. I’m her power of attorney, her representative. I’m the one that’s been helping her for 16 years. She’s got her grandkids here – everyone’s here.”

Sixteen years ago, Tomaszewski suffered a brain aneurysm followed by numerous strokes.

There are also mental health and balance issues.

Caring for her has become progressively more challenging and her daughter worries she won’t receive the attention she needs.

“She needs somebody that’s able to understand brain injury. Someone who can actually take her out and do things. She needs multiple people to take care of her, not just one person.”

The family tried reaching out to the local MLA, but because of the recent election, that didn’t work out. 

Now, with the deadline looming for her mother to be moved, the family fears they have nowhere left to turn.

In a statement, Island Health says they can’t share information about individual patients.

But the Health Authority said it understands the challenges when people in smaller communities have complex cares needs and that specialized, complex care isn’t available locally.

It says it’s working closely with this patient’s family.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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