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The Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE) is calling for an independent investigation into the recent deaths of four Parkholm Lodge residents soon after they were involuntarily moved to Chilliwack Hospital’s extended care unit as the Fraser Health Authority forges on with plans to close the seniors’ care facility.

“We have written to the chief licencing officer for Community Care Facility Licencing in Chilliwack asking for an independent investigation into the deaths of the Parkholm residents,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt.

“Patient relocation studies have linked the involuntary transfers of nursing home residents with their untimely deaths. The transfers can cause significant negative physical and psychological effects including depression, increased irritability, serious illness and death.

“In light of this widely available information, we believe nothing less than a full investigation into the circumstances leading up to the deaths of these Parkholm residents and the possible impact that involuntary moves had on their health is critical.”

Deteriorating physical and psychological health and increased mortality risk - known as Relocation Stress Syndrome, a recognized diagnosis in the United States - were highlighted in an HEU-commissioned research project released in September that reviewed four decades of studies on the impact of relocation on the frail elderly. Links to this study follow this news release.

Allnutt says that health authorities across the province are closing long-term care facilities as a result of the Campbell Liberals’ policies for seniors’ care.

“All closure plans should be put unequivocally on hold pending the outcome of the investigation. There must be no more moves.

“The seriousness of these deaths is indisputable. To discount them as “normal” is disrespectful of the deceased and an insult to their families,” adds Allnutt.

“There is a simple solution - revoke the closure notices and immediately restore security, comfort and high quality care to residents and their family members.”

Robinson’s Review is available in pdf format at http://www.heu.org/HEU Literature Review_Sept23.pdf

Robinson’s Review is available in Microsoft word format at http://www.heu.org/HEU Literature Review_Sept23.doc


Contact: Margi Blamey, communications officer, 604-456-7094 (direct); 604-785-5324 (cell)