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Rights Denied: Dependant Adults Act Issue

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You may also be interested in our news story on Flora L’Heureux.

November 21, 2006
The Honourable Mr. Ron Stevens, QC
Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Room #208, Legislature Building
10800 – 97 Avenue, Edmonton, AB. T5K 2B6

HAND DELIVERED

Dear Mr. Minister:

On August 15, 2006, Ms. L’Heureux was assessed by the eminent gerontologist, Dr. David Skelton, in regard to mental capacity and capacity to live independently. She received a positive assessment.

Dr. Skelton wrote:

“On formal cognitive function assessment she scored within the normal range on MMSE (27/30), she was considered normal on the Geriatric Depression Rating Scale and showed no visuo-spatial limitations at all. Her present health status, her knowledge of her general affairs and her normal mood cause me to be very seriously concerned that at this time she is still restricted from independent functioning by the imposition of a Guardian and Trustee under the Dependent Adult legislation of Alberta. I would personally be prepared to support her if she if she wishes to approach the Courts for a reassessment of her status at this time.”

We concur with this report.

Flora L’Heureux is 75 years old, she gets up every morning at 5:30 AM, makes her own coffee, and tests her blood sugar with a glucometer. (She made her own toast, now the facility makes it). According to the CNIB, Flora L’Heureux is legally blind.

She heads off to Norquest College to strengthen writing and reading skills (which were damaged by her illness and she says it is better to be doing something positive than just sitting around thinking.)

One thing she is not allowed to do, is spend her hard earned money.

She is responsible for herself in that:

  • she showers herself
  • does her own laundry
  • often prepares her own meals / salads

She monitors her own health care as she is allowed.

She did in fact refuse to take medications which had been prescribed for her, which are strongly contraindicated & harmful for Diabetes and COPD, the medications, Zyprexa and Mogadon.

One must question why this independent person is occupying a precious, long term care bed. (Transcript Page 5, Lines 2 – 24; Page 21 Lines 1 – 5)

When the Skelton Report was released, the Office of the Public Guardian objected to the assessment and gathered, “carefully collated”, old Reports and assessments and submitted them to Dr. Skelton, who consequently reversed his decision. (See Transcript Page 12, L. 14 – 16). No copy of the submitted material was sent to Ms. L’Heureux’s counsel.

The revised Report of Dr. David Skelton, dated October 28th, 2006 based on historical evidence some of which is almost nine years old, indicates that in essence there is the belief that an older, injured person cannot recover.

Why did no one go to the nursing home to inquire of Flora’s daily activities?

Why did no one go to Norquest College where she attends daily for the 2nd semester?

This strongly indicates that the Office which accepted the Guardianship of Flora L’Heureux, does not know the person Flora L’Heureux.

Flora L’Heureux is a walking miracle of determination, a shining example of the triumph of the human spirit.

We respectfully ask your Office to issue a Ministerial Directive to the Office of the Public Guardian to withdraw their objection and allow Flora, who at 75 years of age scored a normal MMSE, to live her remaining years in peace. Flora suffers from angina, congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic renal failure, osteoporosis, hypertension, generalized osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism.

Flora should not have to endure another assessment in order to attain her rights and access to her hard earned money.

Thank you. We would be grateful to be in receipt of a response to this most urgent matter by the 29th November, 2006.

Elder Advocates Of Alberta

Att:
Posted staff instructions, presently posted.
Photographs
Dr. Skelton Report dated August 15,2006
Letter to Philip L’Heureux April 13, 2005 – re history of Flora (noting Zyprexa & Mogadon)
Selected Copy of Transcript of November 6th, 2006 Court

Addendum

There are troubling inconsistencies regarding the various assessments of Flora L’Heureux.

Gerontologist, Dr. Skelton, on August 15, 2006 assessed her and finds a normal MMSE. Then, because of material submitted by the Public Advocate Pat Henderson, which in all fairness should have been copied to Counsel of Ms. L’Heureux, on October 2006, Dr. Skelton says, “Oops, I made a mistake.”

The Dr. Darryl Rolfson Report of the U of A Geriatric Assessment Center, November 2004, recommended that she be “moved to less restrictive living.”

Strangely, three months later, February 10/04, without again assessing or even meeting with Flora, Dr. Rolfson submits a Form I to the Office of the Public Guardian, which declares her to be “repeatedly unable to care for herself [..] demonstrated decline in cognition & independent day to day functioning.” Prognosis: “Deterioration.”

At the Court Hearing, November 6, 2006, Pat Henderson stated that the Rolfson Report was “a very full [assessment] one.” Transcript P. 17, Lines 6-8.

However, Mr. Head denies this, claming “it was based on a lot of information given by third parties.” Transcript P. 19, Lines 19-21. In fact it was because of the inadequacy of the Report that it had not been relied upon and it was the Office of the Public Guardian who required another assessment.

Furthermore, Ms. Henderson refers to the full “neuro-psychological assessment that was done in 2003 – that was Dr. White.” Transcript P. 18 Lines 22-27.

We are familiar with the work of Dr. White. In 1999, we received a call for HELP from a Mrs Inga Dorcea Sondrop. She had been attending at Glenrose for 2-3 day outings, she was a most fragile 88 year old. In February of 1999, Trustee Officer Earnest Kambeitz arrived at her doorstep and wished entrance which Inga denied. He was serving her an Affidavit signed by Trustee lawyer Bev McNalley, indicating that her assets were to be taken over (seized) by the Office of the Public Trustee Court File No. #10381. Affidavits stated that they were relying on the information of a Form I, dated February 10, 1999 prepared by Dr. Sandra Kae White, psychologist. According to available records, Dr. White had carried out a neuro-psychological assessment on Inga Dorcea Sondrup.

There are many more details in regard to this account. Because we became involved, the matter was discontinued or whatever happens in such bizarre situations.

This is the same Dr. Sandra Kae White that damned Flora L’Heureux. Flora Maintains that Dr. Kae White used information which was obtained of Flora immediately following a stroke and then placed that information together with her alleged findings/report/assessment.

It is noted in Dr. Skelton’s second Report, that in March 1998, Dr. Rowland Ikuta, a geriatric specialist found that “the patient (Flora L’Heureux) was competent in both personal and financial decision making. Dr. Ikuta did state that although Mrs L’Heureux had performed extremely poorly in past assessments, she seemed to rally when her independence was threatened.”

Who performed ‘past assessments’?

In our long experience, we have documented a litany of untrustworthy, unprofessional assessments and or irregularities, processes where seniors have had their rights and monies unfairly or even illegally taken/seized from them.

We have found that the system which allegedly exists to act in the best interests of and protect seniors, far too often fails to do so as in the matter of Flora L’Heureux.

Response:

Click to Enlarge Pages

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Second Letter

March 19, 2007
The Honourable Mr. Greg Melchin CA,

Minister Seniors and Community Support Services
Re: Flora L’Heureux

Lynwood Nursing Home
8740 165 Street
Edmonton, AB T5R 2R8

Dear Mr. Minister:

Further to your correspondence of January 5, 2007. You suggest that the court provided direction regarding Ms. L’Heureux’s situation which was to have a another competency assessment.

Please be aware, on August 15, 2006, Ms. Flora L’Heureux passed a competency assessment (attached) with flying colors and was most hopeful to regain her rights, her right to her estate, her monies and her status as a person.

However, the Public Guardian apparently was not satisfied with the assessment and gathered up and “carefully collated” material which was allegedly from Ms. L’Heureux’s past and presented this to the eminent Gerontologist who had made the assessment. As a result of this added information, the Gerontologist reversed his decision.

So now the Court has ordered Ms. L’Heureux to have another assessment authorizing all past history to be included again. What point is there for her to take another assessment, she passed one successfully but was dammed by her past?

What hope is there for Ms. L’Heureux to ever pass an assessment and regain her rights?

We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response by the 31s of March, 2007.

Thank you,

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

Cc: Mr. Christopher Head

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Court Transcript

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Medical Report

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