Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

Woman scared for brother in Calgary long-term care home with COVID-19 deaths

CALGARY — A woman says she’s terrified for her brother who has a severe mental disability and is living in a Calgary long-term care home where there’s a deadly outbreak of COVID-19.

Julie Nimmo’s brother, Jesse Middleton, is a resident at the McKenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre. As of Friday, 52 residents and 36 staff members there had tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Of Alberta’s two dozen COVID-19 deaths, 11 have been at the McKenzie Towne home.

“It’s a beyond-horrible situation. There’s no words to describe it,” Nimmo said Monday.

“It seems like it’s going to get significantly worse over the next couple of weeks.”

She said her brother is 50 years old, but has the mental capacity of a three-year old and has been staying 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 move him quickly into Nimmo’s home if it was negative. At the time, there were no COVID-19 cases in his unit.

“We were literally holding our breath, absolutely terrified,” Nimmo said.

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. She was told dementia unit residents could not be confined in their rooms.

Nimmo said she was informed her brother got into a dispute with another resident over the weekend and was moved to a different unit where it was later revealed someone had COVID-19. She was told her brother did not come into contact with the person who was infected, but she is nonetheless scared.

“Common sense would say don’t move residents from unit to unit at all.”

Nimmo, who has been Middleton’s legal guardian since she was 18, said she has now instructed the home not to move her brother.

And she is holding her breath once again, hoping he doesn’t show symptoms in the next 10 to 14 days.

Protocols for other residents, such as instructing them to avoid touching their faces, stay in their rooms and frequently wash their hands, just don’t work for people with dementia and other cognitive issues, Nimmo said.

“That’s why they’re in long-term care — to have somebody else step in and help protect them,” she said.

“You can’t do anything to help them. All you can do is sit and wait and pray.”

Rhonda Collins, chief medical officer at care home operator Revera, has said that families are being updated regularly by email and phone. Anyone who is in isolation or has had a change in condition is a priority.

Staffing levels that had been reduced by mandatory isolation have now stabilized, she said in a statement Friday.

“We know this is a very frightening time for anyone who has a family member living at McKenzie Towne. We are singularly focused on doing everything we can to contain this outbreak,” Collins said.

“We are working closely with Alberta Health Service’s public health experts to implement and comply with their directives, and we are very grateful for the clinical nursing resources and infection control experts they are providing to us.”

Nimmo said her brother doesn’t understand the situation, which is in some ways a blessing.

“He does know that it’s not normal.”

She added that her concerns are about the home’s corporate leadership, not the front-line staff.

“They are tremendous. They are under incredible stress as well,” she said. ”They are taking this home to their families potentially, and I so admire all their devotion and care that they’re giving.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2020

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Short-term rental accommodation is becoming more closely monitored by local governments. File photo
Town of Sylvan Lake looking for input on short-term rentals

Currently, the Town does not regulate short-term rentals.

A 36-year-old Eckville pedophile  was sentenced to 18 years in prison and given a 10-year-long-term supervision order for abusing nearly a dozen children over a decade.
Black Press file photo
Central Alberta pedophile sentenced to 18 years in prison and declared long-term offender

Eckville man abused nearly a dozen children as young as two over nearly a decade

Businesses are getting creative to keep cash flowing. (File photo)
Central Albertan lobbying government to help those affected by CERB repayments

Catherine Hay says she received a letter in November saying she had to completely repay the benefit

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

The newly built Parkland Regional Library Services. (Photo Submitted)
Parkland Regional Library system moves into new offices in Lacombe

“Someone with a Parkland Library card can borrow from 350 libraries in Alberta,” Ron Sheppard

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

File photo
Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit recovers valuable stolen property

Property valued at over $50,000 recovered by Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit.

In this March 28, 2017, file photo, a dump truck hauls coal at Contura Energy’s Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, Wyo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Mead Gruver, File)
First Nations seek to intervene in court challenge of coal policy removal

Bearspaw, Ermineskin and Whitefish First Nations are among those looking to intervene

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Lacombe is looking at its options for reclaiming sewage lagoons that are no longer needed. Vesta Energy Ltd. has signed a deal to use three lagoons to store water for fracking.
Map from City of Lacombe
Energy company to use former Lacombe sewage lagoons to store water for fracking

Vesta Energy Ltd. will pay Lacombe more than $100,000 a year in 20-year deal

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Monday that11 more people had died from COVID-19, bringing the province’s death toll to 1,447. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Eleven more Albertans die from COVID-19

There were 739 people in hospital, 120 in ICU on Monday

Most Read