Governments Ignore “Blindingly Obvious” Needs of Disabled Citizens

Published October 12, 2011 |
By Paul Caune    

Not long ago the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) asked citizens to brain-storm with them on how to quantify effective communication between voters residing in nursing homes and the administrators thereof. 

The goal of this exercise was to improve the quality of care in VCH nursing homes. The brain storming was held in a nursing home called George Pearson Centre (GPC). At the beginning of the session the first thing the civil servant presiding stated was, “we’re not here to discuss clinical issues.” “Clinical issues” is a code phrase which means the quality of care voters in nursing homes receive. Somehow not discussing the quality of care would improve the quality of care.

What is the quality of care at GPC? According to a simple Internet search: 

From the wife of a voter who lived in GPC in 1991: “I took a well-adjusted, happy husband to a place where in two short weeks they traumatized him into
a worthless-feeling, frustrated human being. He came home and cried in fear of what it would be like for him in the future if he could not speak out to
communicate. He cried the next day for those he left behind. He did not dare complain while at George Pearson for fear that those who took care of him
would make it worse. That’s an unspoken understanding all patients realize very soon.”

From a Youtube video of voters currently living in GPC: “You got no privacy, you got no freedom”; “There are too many rules”; “We’re in a prison here”;
“I’m 63 years old and they’re telling me I got to be in bed by 8 o’clock”; “Didn’t like the way [the staff] treated residents, they’re bossy and rude”.

These anecdotes are twenty years apart; maybe GPC has had a lot of bad apples? Surely such poor conditions in government institutions for society’s most vulnerable are rare. Surely VCH not seeing the blindingly obvious is a rare disease.

“I am instead confining myself to stating my finding to applying generally to the state of affairs at Jericho Hill School, that from the 1950s, extending
over about a 35 year period, there was sexual abuse by some child care staff, sexual abuse by some older children against younger children, and that some of these younger children when they became senior students sexually abused new entrants.”

Thus concluded Thomas Berger in his 1995 report on allegations of abuse at the Jericho Hill School for the Deaf in the Point Gray area of Vancouver.

Surely if the Jericho School had had a way to quantify how many times the victims begged the perpetrators not to abuse them the quality of the service provided there would have approved. If only the people in charge had known about the abuse!

“It is clear that the provincial government [of BC] knew [in 1982] of the abuse [at the Jericho Hill School for the Deaf]…The Ministry of Human Resources
and the Ministry of Education shared responsibility, but neither acted. Each had its own functions; the Ministries did not agree between themselves that
either one of them should take action.”

Evidently the people in charge were blind, deaf and dumb.

It’s not bad communication that degrades voters living in GPC and such places, but the very means by which the public services they need to survive are delivered to them. This service delivery model has caused more evil than good. It is in the public interest that it be abolished by law.

It’s not bad apples alone that harm “the most vulnerable,” but blighted orchards.

Reproduced from