NEWS

'Oh not again' says Kamloops widow after care home homicide

08/20/2013 01:44 EDT | Updated 10/20/2013 05:12 EDT
After the death of an elderly man at a Vernon care home on Sunday, a woman, whose husband died after he was attacked at a care home in Kamloops, says the province needs to do a better job of protecting seniors with dementia from violence at the hands of other patients.

"Oh not again. That was my first thought" said Vera Shippobothan.

Earlier this summer, Shippobothan says her husband Jack succumbed to injuries he suffered after being attacked by another patient at a residential care facility.

She says the weekend incident in Vernon sounds alarmingly similar to what happened to her husband.

On Sunday RCMP arrested a 95-year-old after he allegedly attacked his 85-year-old roommate at Interior Health's Polson Special Care Facility — a secure facility that provides care for people who have dementia complicated by psychiatric and behavioural issues.

The victim died on the scene of his injuries and Interior Health has launched an internal investigation.

But Shippobothan isn't satisfied and she wants the province to improve safety for seniors at care homes.

"We feel that the [Interior Health Authority], they have these meetings, they listen and you spill your guts and they tell you how sorry they are, and somehow you go away feeling kind of empty that you haven't really heard anything positive."

SFU gerontology researcher Charmaine Spencer says B.C. needs more specialized training for people working with dementia patients to prevent more attacks.

"Not only do they have to have the training, but they need to have the practice with it, on a regular basis," said Spencer, pointing to a program pioneered in Ontario called P.I.E.C.E.S as a better model.

B.C's Ministry of Health says the program is being piloted in B.C. and will be rolled out throughout the province.

It also said it has a dementia action plan which puts in place new guidelines to better manage the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia to give physicians, nurses, health care providers and care providers additional tools and resources.

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan. You can follow him on twitter @BradyStrachan

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