Julie Nimmo’s brother Jesse Middleton is a resident of the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Center. As of Friday, 52 residents and 36 staff have tested positive for the new coronavirus.
Of the two dozen deaths from COVID-19 in Alberta, 11 occurred at McKenzie Towne’s home.
“It is a situation beyond horrible. There are no words to describe it, “said Nimmo on Monday.
“It looks like it will get considerably worse in the coming weeks. “
She said her brother was 50 years old, but had the mental capacity of a three-year-old child and had been living in a dementia unit since October.
Middleton was tested for COVID-19 on March 25. The result was expected the next day, and the plan was to quickly take him to Nimmo if he was negative. At the time, there were no cases of COVID-19 in his unit.
“We were literally holding our breath, absolutely terrified,” said Nimmo.
But she didn’t hear about Middleton’s negative result until March 28 and she couldn’t guarantee that he hadn’t been exposed to the virus since the test. He was told that residents of the dementia unit could not be locked in their rooms.
Nimmo said he was informed that his brother had a dispute with another resident over the weekend and was transferred to another unit where it was later revealed that someone had COVID-19. She was told that her brother had not contacted the infected person, but she is still afraid.
“Common sense would mean not to move residents from one unit to another at all. “
Nimmo, who has been Middleton’s legal guardian since she was 18, said she had now ordered the house not to move her brother.
And she holds her breath once more, hoping that he won’t show any symptoms in the next 10 to 14 days.
Protocols for other residents, such as telling them to avoid touching their faces, staying in their rooms, and washing their hands frequently, just don’t work for people with dementia and other cognitive problems, a said Nimmo.
“This is why they are in long-term care – so that someone else can intervene and help protect them,” she said.
“There is nothing you can do to help them. All you can do is sit and wait and pray. “
Rhonda Collins, chief medical officer of health care operator Revera, said families are updated regularly by email and phone. Anyone who is isolated or has changed status is a priority.
The workforce that had been reduced by mandatory segregation has now stabilized, she said in a statement on Friday.
“We know this is a very scary time for anyone who has a family member living in McKenzie Towne. We are particularly focused on everything we can to contain this epidemic, ”said Collins.
“We are working closely with Alberta Health Service public health experts to implement and follow their guidelines, and we are very grateful for the clinical nursing resources and infection control experts they provide to us.” provide. “
Nimmo said his brother doesn’t understand the situation, which is kind of a blessing.
“He knows it’s not normal. “
She added that her concerns were with the management of the company, not the front line staff.
“They are huge. They are also under incredible stress, ”she said. “They potentially bring this house back to their families, and I so admire all of their devotion and care they give.”
This Canadian Press report was first published on April 6, 2020