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Helen Tiedeman: Unlawfully detained and locked in alzheimer unit

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The Abuse of Helen Tiedeman

Letter

October 2, 2009

Dr. Helen Frank MD
Long Term Care Center,
Vegreville, AB.

Mr. Courtney Ohlhauser, Public Guardian Officer
Office of the Public Guardian, Red Deer, AB.

Ms. Laurel Wyllie RN, Director of Care
Vegreville Long Term Care Center, Vegreville, AB.

Ms. Michelle Duncan, RPN, Director,
Alberta Mental Health Services,
Camrose, AB.

Re: Helen Tiedeman, Secure Unit, Vegreville Long Term Care Center.

Helen Tiedman has told us this morning that it is one full year since she has been detained. I responded to her that it is October 1, 2009, she replied, “No, October 2nd”. As usual, she is totally oriented to date and time.
Helen
Tiedeman continues to be stripped of all rights and unlawfully detained in a locked unit. She is disallowed to even walk down the public sidewalk. When we have encouraged her to take a walk out in the court yard, she has told us, “I am not going to walk around there like a penned up animal”.

She is obviously seriously depressed informing us that she wishes she was dead, suggesting that the lifesaving surgery should not have been performed.
This Alberta senior was gainfully employed for thirty five years, she was a responsible tax paying citizen. Now she is being detained in a locked unit with less rights than a prisoner at the Remand Center. She is being given no money by trustees or guardians.

There are those who disparage her, however there are something like 220 names in her guest book of friends who continue to visit her, months after she has been removed from their midst. The round trip to Vegreville from Tofield takes over an hour and a half.

We submit that if a lodge vacancy comes up and her name is next on the list, she should be immediately placed.

It is unconscionable that professionals, public advocates and other caregivers have been aware of this unjust situation and to date nothing has been done to rectify this troubling situation.

Thank you.

We shall be awaiting your reply and be grateful to be in receipt of
such reply by the 15th of October, 2009.

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

cc. The Honourable Ms. Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister Seniors and Community
Support Services

Ms. Barb Martini, Director Public Guardian Office, St. Paul. Alberta.

Ms. Helen Tiedeman

Response

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Letter

March 8, 2010

REGISTERED MAIL

Mrs Vera (John) Heitman
Mr. Ralph Tiedemann
51318 Range Road 212
5135 52 Avenue
Sherwood Park, AB. T8G 1G1
Viking, AB. T0B 4N0

Reference: Helen Tiedemann

Many individuals, especially from the Tofield area, are strongly aware that it has caused great distress to Helen Tiedemannn, (over whom you hold guardianship and trusteeship), to have been detained for close to two years.

For a whole year, she was detained in a locked unit with individuals who suffer from advanced cognitive impairment. Some of these persons who cannot communicate, wandered into her room causing her to keep her door closed, even locked, especially at night to protect herself from demented,helpless persons.

For close to eight of those months, October 2008 to May 2009, she was totally restricted to this locked unit, like a maximum security prisoner. After a year, October 2009, she was moved out of the secure unit, but is restricted to three outings a week. All this has been devastating for her.

She has told us that she has an organ which she bought after she was working.When we asked her who taught her how to play, she told us that she taught herself. We all know how she loves music.

We urge you to return her organ to her. The organ may help to ameliorate her difficult existence and alleviate her daily expressed anguish and distress of being detained and away from community and friends. And we trust that this terrible inequity which has been wrought against her, will soon be brought to an equitable close. Thank you.

We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response by March 14th, 2010. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

cc. Ms. Helen Tiedemann
The Honourable Minister of Seniors, Mrs. M. Jablonski
Ms. Brenda Lee Doyle, Director, Office of the Public Guardian

Letter

March 15, 2010

HAND DELIVERED

The Honourable Premier, Mr. Ed Stelmach,
Legislature Building, Edmonton, AB.T5K 2B6
MLA Fort Saskatchewan – Vegrevile

CONSTITUENT – Helen Tiedemann, 4832 57 Avenue, Tofield, AB.
Now a wrongly detained two year Resident Long Term Care Center, Vegreville, AB.

Dear Mr. Premier:

Helen Tiedemann worked for thirty five years at the Tofield Hospital. Day after day, month after month, she faithfully served the community. Then after a heart attack and a pacer implant, she was placed under guardianship and trusteeship despite the fact that she had not been negatively affected by the heart attack. She was assessed as incompetent and stripped of all rights and money by Dr. N. Flook and Social Worker Elizabeth Gottschalk, at the Misericordia Hospital. Helen then, was detained for two months at the Tofield Hospital and then eight months in the Vegreville Care Center, locked dementia unit, maximum security, never allowed to leave the locked unit. Nor did her Guardians ever take her out. After an outcry from the senior’s community (Tofield) , she was reassessed and found to have been wrongly assessed and wrongly placed. However her Guardians did not move her out of the locked unit for an entire year until we intervened by means of a complaint.

In the Fall of 2004, prior to these happenings, she had put in her name at the Tofield Senior Citizens Lodge. She gave her name and Forms (filled out and signed by Dr. Richard Hackett), to Jan Valliere, Lodge manager. Helen told us that when she was in the Tofield Hospital in May 2008, she inquired of Dr. Hackett if he remembered filling out those Forms for her, he said he did. The Application had been accepted by Valliere. Now, Valliere is denying access to Helen.

On October 1, 2008, @ 1:30 PM, seven persons of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society met at the Tofield Lodge with the Lodge manager, Jan Valliere and a Lodge Board member, Bob Young to discuss the matter of Helen being admitted to the Tofield Lodge. At the said meeting, Valliere stated she would not accept Helen, she did not appear to be willing to discuss the matter. She said a vote had been taken.

During the meeting, duration of about an hour, Valliere said unkind things about Helen Tiedemann, which could be considered defamatory in that we were complete strangers.

When at the meeting I stated that Helen often phones me, Bob Young commented he would have her phone taken from her (paraphrased).

We have inquired as to the professional/ educational status of the lodge manager and have learned that Valliere was a long time employee of the lodge prior to becoming manager, possibly doing the same kind of work that Helen Tiedemann carried out at the Tofield Hospital for long years.

We find it disturbing and irresponsible that both Ms. Valliere and Mr. Young spoke in a derogatory manner about this senior citizen. Perhaps they are not well suited to be in the care of elderly persons.

This is a public, tax supported facility and Valliere has assumed power to determine who will reside in the lodge and who will not. We have also learned that Valliere is a good friend of Helen’s Guardian (see attached letter). Also, a nephew of the Guardian is on the lodge board.

This is a human rights issue. Helen has been horrifically abused by the system and presently is acting out against those who are imprisoning her. She continues to be detained at the Vegreville Long Term Care Center although she does not require long term care. She is distressed and angry. She is suffering. She has been abused and continues to be abused.

As her MLA, we urge you to go to bat for Helen and assure her, her right to return to her home in Tofield where she faithfully worked and served for many years and allow her to live out her days in peace and comfort. This is a public facility and she has a right to be there. Thank you.

Respectfully submitted, we would be grateful to be in receipt of your response in regard to this urgent matter by the 1st. April, 2010. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

Att: Correspondence addressed to Guardians of Helen Tiedemann 12/ 03/ 10
cc. Helen Tiedemann

Response

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Letter

April 20, 2010

VIA FACSIMILE 780 415 8611

Complaints Officer, Ms. Charlotte La Rose
Complaint under the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA)
Re: Guardians and trustees of Helen Tiedemann

Mrs Vera (John) Heitman
Mr. Ralph Tiedemann
51318 Range Road 212
5135 52 Avenue
Sherwood Park, AB. T8G 1G1 Viking, AB. T0B 4N0

Reference: Helen Tiedemann, 4832 57 Avenue, Tofield, AB.

A wrongly detained two year Resident of Long Term Care Center, Vegreville, AB.

We thank you for your correspondence of April 15, 2010. You again state that our correspondence of March 8, 2010 was received on March 25, 2010. If you check the faxed date on our fax letter, you will see that your office must have received said letter on March 8, 2010. A that time, you called us an hour later questioning whether it was a two or three page letter and therefore we re-faxed the letter. We find it somewhat troubling that you have no recall of your phone call to us.

Further to the matter of Helen Tiedemann. The office of the Public Guardian has been made aware of this abusive situation since its’ beginning. Helen has informed us that, in May 2008, after she after was discharged from the Misericordia Hospital and detained at the Tofield Hospital, she was totally denied all rights by her guardians. She was disallowed to attend “anywhere”, (community functions or even attend church). She was held as a virtual, maximum security prisoner.

An appeal was made to the Office of the Public Guardian, May 2008 by Leony Gomez and Pastor Kevin of the Lutheran Church. A meeting was held in the Family Room of the Tofield Hospital. Mr. Courtney Ohlhauser, Public Guardian representative was in attendance. At that meeting, a list was made of some of the functions Helen would be allowed to attend such as floor curling at the Mennonite church, church attendance at her own church, etc. and from thereon, she was allowed to attend those functions while she remained at the Tofield Hospital.

However, when in October 2008, the guardians moved Helen Tiedemann to a locked unit of the Vegreville Care Center, the guardians again curtailed all her rights and held her in total lockdown, not allowed to leave the facility. Nursing staff were the enforcers.

Early in 2009, we, the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society, were widely publicizing the unjust Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act. Many Citizens of Tofield and area became aware of this legislation and began calling us to say that they knew of a person from their community who was being denied, all rights and being wrongly detained. They told us of Helen Tiedemann who was being detained in a locked unit.

Not because of us, but because of the outcry by persons in the Tofield and surrounding Area, Helen was reassessed in June 2009 and was found to have been improperly placed. The first assessment at the Misericordia Hospital was found to be in serious error. However, her guardians continued to detain her in the locked unit.

On October 2, 2009, we made a telephone appeal to the Office of the Public Guardian, Courtney Ohlhauser, 1-403 3405564. He said was not prepared to do anything to ameliorate Helen’s bizarre situation.

On October 2, 2008, we also made a written appeal to Mr. Ohlhauser which was also made to:

Dr. Helen Frank MD, Helen’s physician at the Care Center.
Ms. Laurel Wyllie RN, Director of Care, Vegreville Long Term Care Center,
Ms. Michelle Duncan, RPN, Director, Alberta Mental Health Services, Camrose, AB.

This correspondence was copied to:

Honourable Ms. Mary Anne Jablonski, Minister Seniors and Community Support Services and

Ms. Barb Martini, Director Public Guardian Office, St. Paul. Alberta.

The only person who responded to this appeal was Dr. Helen Frank, her faxed letter of October 15, 2009 strongly stated:

“We at the Vegreville Care Facility agree that Ms. Tiedemann’s placement with us is inappropriate”.

Dr. Frank then restates: “…we agree that Ms. Tiedemann was placed inappropriately and if you could aid in her being placed somewhere else, we would greatly appreciate it”.

We have also made several complaints to the Protection For Persons in Care (PPCA). After an October 2009 complaint to the PPCA abuse line concerning a staff caregiver, within days, she was moved out of the locked unit into the long term care but continued to be severely restricted to three outings a week. Only five persons could take her out, not even her beloved Pastor who visited her and made the hour and a half drive from Tofield. If on a Sunday she was taken to Tofield for a church service, she had to be back at the locked unit by 2:30 PM. Why?

We have also made a lengthy appeal on her behalf, to her MLA, the Honourable Premier, Mr. Ed. Stelmach. His Office has been given misinformation by the Office of the Public Guardian who apparently have said that the Guardianship Applicants are affiliated with us.

On March 1, 2010, two persons from the Tofield Lutheran church made Application to the Surrogate Court, Queen’s Bench for the guardianship and Trusteeship of Helen Tiedemann. The Court dismissed the Application, twice applauded the performance of the present Guardians and seized the file. Brenda Feehan of Family law,representing the Office of the Public Guardian was asked to address the court.She recommended to the court, that Helen have another assessment.

Two failed assessments and a CAT scan. Now there is a call for another major assessment! An assessment which may cost Helen her hard earned dollars anywhere from $5,000. to $7,500. For what?

She is frightened of another assessment and so she should be. We have a litany of documented, wrongful assessments, of seniors who have been stripped of all access to their money and rights. The account of Flora L’Heureux who year after year,assessment upon assessment was denied her rights despite attending Norquest College and winning an award. Inga Dorcea Sondrup, and others come to mind.

One Albertan, was locked up for three years with severely, cognitively impaired persons in a secure unit until he was released this past summer.He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer disease in 2006 and many times was told by his family’s that he was being detained because he had Alzheimers. In the locked unit caregivers told him that he did not belong there.

That senior had been assessed twelve times in sixteen months by physicians /psychiatrists/ psychologists / professors of Gerontology, who had signed either a Form 1, a certificate, a Personal Directive Form 2 or letter after having allegedly assessed the cognitive state of this man.

In another matter, a physician wrote ‘Alzheimer Disease’ on a senior’s driving document. On the behest of a son, the elderly man was apprehended by the RCMP, and detained for a month in an active treatment hospital. A lawyer intervened and he was freed. However on discharge, despite having been assessed many times while in hospital, and the assessors having been unable to declare him incompetent while in hospital, the attending physician / gerontologist, made him promise he would attend at an appointment for a major psycho-neurological assessment, which she had made for him at Glenrose Hospital.

Another senior was detained in the dayroom of a Calgary active treatment hospital for a year.There was a sign on the window of the dayroom to not close the venetian blinds. It took $10,000 in legal fees to free him and return him his access to his money.

A lady who speaks three languages, but poor English, who does not read or write English, failed an assessment and is confined in a hovel 6’1/2′ by 11′. She had come to hospital for care and was never allowed to leave because she was subjected to a competency assessment which of course she failed. She had been functioning well in the community, paid her bills, her taxes, planted a huge garden.

These accounts constitute not only horrific abuse but are criminal acts perpetrated against Canadian citizens.

We submit that the process of assessing competency is a pseudo science and could be perceived as an industry, a lucrative, non-regulated industry.

Helen, does not belong in a long term care space. She pays approximately $1,700 for room and board and could be well placed in the community for that money. She begs to return to her home and personnel community, Tofield.

We reiterate in recent months she often states “I can’t take it anymore”. She also says, “I want to go to my grave”.

The Office of the Public Guardian has been aware of this abusive situation since the very beginning.

This is a shameful, shocking story happening in Canada, an alleged democratic state. As noted, the plight of Helen Tiedemann is not an isolated incident.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

P.S. Today we had encouraged Helen to go out for a walk. She just told me, that when she attempted to go, she was stopped at the door. Why? She is to be allowed out only in the fenced courtyard. She refuses to go in the courtyard, says she feels like a penned animal there. She desperately needs that exercise not only for better body but better frame of mind.

Honourable Ms. M. Jablonski, Minister of Seniors and Community Supports
Mr. Robert Bhatia BA, Deputy Minister, Seniors and Community Supports

Letter

April 21, 2010

VIA FACSIMILE 780 415 8611

Complaints Officer, Ms. Charlotte La Rose
Complaint under the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act (AGTA)
Re: Guardians and trustees of Helen Tiedemann

Mrs Vera (John) Heitman Mr. Ralph Tiedemann
51318 Range Road 212
5135 52 Avenue
Sherwood Park, AB. T8G 1G1
Viking, AB. T0B 4N0

Reference: Helen Tiedemann, 4832 57 Avenue, Tofield, AB.
A wrongly detained Resident of Long Term Care Center, Vegreville, AB.

Dear Madam:

Further to our correspondence of yesterday, April 20, 2010, we wish to add a copy of correspondence that was sent by registered mail to the guardians and copied to Brenda Lee Doyle, Director of the Office of the Public Guardian.

We reiterate, that the Office of the Public Guardian, on numerous occasions, was made aware of the horrific abuse of Helen Tiedemann. As a matter of fact it is deeply troubling that also numbers of professionals have been made aware of this situation and to date, nothing has changed. Everyone is on the taxpayer payroll, but no remedy is forthcoming.

The Guardians, on receipt of our March 8, 2010 letter, immediately announced to Helen that she could have many more rights. However, yesterday when she wished to go for a walk around the block, she was stopped at the door by a PCA.

This is a shameful, shocking story happening in Canada, an alleged democratic state. As noted in yesterday’s letter, the plight of Helen Tiedemann is not an isolated incident, the violation of the rights of seniors is epidemic.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

Attn: Letter to Vera Heitman & Ralph Tiedemann, March 8, 2010, copied to Office of Public Guardian, Brenda Lee Doyle

Letter

April 21, 2010

Mrs Vera (John) Heitman
Mr. Ralph Tiedemann
51318 Range Road 212
5135 52 Avenue
Sherwood Park, AB. T8G 1G1
Viking, AB. T0B 4N0

Reference: Helen Tiedemann

We speak in defense of vulnerable seniors and therefore have interest in this matter.

Yesterday, April 20, 2010, during a phone conversation with Helen, we encouraged Helen to go out for a walk. Apparently after Bingo, because it was a lovely day, she took her walker and prepared to go for a small walk. She informed me, that when she attempted to go, she was stopped at the door. Why?

Have you put out a directive / instructed staff, that she is not allowed to go for a walk? Obviously, she was under the impression that she was free to go.

An LPN then told her she is to be allowed out only in the fenced courtyard. She refuses to go in the courtyard, she says she feels like a penned animal there.

Helen desperately needs that exercise not only for healthier body but also for better frame of mind.

Please clarify this matter for us and for Helen. Thank you.

We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response by May 7th, 2010.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

cc.
Ms. Charlotte LaRose, Complaints Officer, Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act
Ms. Brenda Lee Doyle, Director, Office of the Public Guardian

Response

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Letter

July 28, 2010

Mr. Rod Urquijo, Capacity Assessment Policy Analyst,
Office of the Public Guardian, Acting Adult Guardianship & Trusteeship Act Complaints Investigator,

Ms. Brenda Lee Doyle, Director, Office of the Public Guardian
Ms. Charlotte LaRose, Complaints Officer, Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act
Ms. Barb Martini, Director Public Guardian Office, St. Paul, AB.

Re: Guardians of Helen Tiedemann, Vegreville Long Term Care Center, Vegreville AB.
Mrs Vera (John) Heitman Mr. Ralph Tiedemann

Helen Tiedemann is being disabled. She is not being allowed to leave the facility for a walk.

Is this is a deliberate intent to handicap and immobilize her?

Presently she cannot walk, without the aid of a walker from bed to bathroom. She sits on her bed all the time. This is a woman who walked all over Tofield, to church, to dinners, to the Golden Age Club and is now virtually handicapped because she is being held in a room with no recreation or exercise.

She wishes to walk down town. This would distract her from her grief of being detained away from community and friends. Her Guardians, Vera and Ralph have said that she cannot walk safely on the sidewalk. We therefore submit options:

  1. Come and take her for a walk which to this date, they have never done.
  2. Hire someone to do so. After all, the guardians are spending thousands of dollars of Helen’s hard earned money on lawyers, courts and lengthy cognitive assessments.

It is inhumane what is happening to her now. Helen desperately needs that exercise not only for healthier body but also for better frame of mind. Presently she is like a prisoner in “stir”. It is unspeakably cruel what you are allowing the guardians to do to her. She is suffering. She is seriously depressed. We hear her anguished cries, many times, daily, on the telephone.

In a Protection For Persons in Care Preliminary report dated April 27, 2010 from Bobby Murphy RN, a Health Care Aid was cited as saying:

“She could hear her on the phone and could hear her crying. The resident is frequently on the phone crying so she did not think anything of it”.

Helen has told us many times, “I can’t take it anymore”. “I want to go to my grave”. We urge your immediate intervention in this matter. We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response by August 10, 2010.

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

Response

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Letter

April 15, 2010

Via Facsimile 780 427 1349

The Honourable Premier, Mr. Ed Stelmach,
Legislature Building, Edmonton, ABT5K 2B6
MLA Fort Saskatchewan – Vegrevile

Attention Ms. Donna Rogers, Constituency Assistant

CONSTITUENT – Helen Tiedemann, 4832 57 Avenue, Tofield, AB.
Wrongly detained Resident of the Long Term Care Center, Vegreville, AB.

Dear Madam:

Further to our telephone conversation of Tuesday, April 13, 2010. You stated to us that the Office of the Public Guardian had indicated to you that the Applicants for Guardianship and Trusteeship in the Tiedemann matter were part of the Elder Advocates of Alberta Society. Please call us to clarify exactly what information was given to you in order that we may make an objection to the Public Guardian Office in regard to this apparent misinformation.

Has the Premier been made aware of the horrific abuse that his constituent has suffered and continues to suffer? Has he read our letter of Appeal?

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Yours truly.

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

Att: Correspondence addressed to Guardians of Helen Tiedemann 12/ 03/ 10

cc. Helen Tiedemann

Response

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