Transferring high-needs residents calls for extra care

Government representatives say the ongoing transition planning process to move Michener Centre residents to new homes is very thorough.

Government representatives say the ongoing transition planning process to move Michener Centre residents to new homes is very thorough.

They say all bases are being covered to ensure that new caregivers are well-informed about resident needs so that they will be safe in their new homes.

After a resident is moved, the transition team checks with agencies and families at the three-, six-, and 12-month marks, said Cheryl Chichak, a spokesman for Alberta Human Services.

Some families of residents, however, disagree, saying their dealings with the transition team have been inadequate. At least one community agency set to take in Michener residents as well has said getting necessary information from the government has been challenging.

The perils of failing to adequately share information about residents during transitions was illustrated when in 2011 Valerie Wolski was found dead inside the home in which she cared for a severely handicapped young man. Terrance Saddleback (who has never lived at Michener Centre) had been flagged as being potentially violent while under the care of a Wetaskiwin community agency and a risk assessment said that he should never be left alone with one caregiver, especially a female one.

Yet when Saddleback was transferred to another agency in Camrose, the risk assessment was not passed along, and when Wolski was killed, she was on her own with Saddleback. The big young man was charged with manslaughter in the case, but was found to be unfit to stand trial because of his handicap.

And a recent fatality inquiry into the death of wheelchair-bound Richard David Jacknife, 47, who fell down a flight of stairs in a Red Deer group home and died, demonstrates the lengths to which operators may need to go to ensure safety. Among Judge Gordon Yake’s recommendations in the case were that doors to group home basements be alarmed and that they are monitored with video cameras and regularly checked by staff.

Bruce Uditsky, CEO of Alberta Association for Community Living, says cases like the Saddleback tragedy are “phenomenally isolated” and that evidence shows community living is, on the whole, safer than life in an institutional setting.

With over 10,000 adults with developmental disabilities living in Alberta communities, mistakes will be made and problems will arise, but he says people are less vulnerable to abuse in group home settings and work is always ongoing to improve people’s lives.

Just Posted

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

Eight dogs found in Innisfail hotel room were kept in cages

Eight dogs, kept in cages in a small hotel room in Innisfail… Continue reading

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s noxious weeds are a goat’s dietary delight

Piper Creek Community Garden gets chemical-free weed control

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

From hot to not? The Baloney Meter weighs in on Scheer’s economy claims

OTTAWA — “Justin Trudeau inherited a booming economy, but he’s squandering it.… Continue reading

Scathing suicide inquiry finds gaps, shortcomings at Royal Military College

OTTAWA — Members of a board of inquiry into three suicides at… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month