Grieving man says home-care appointments for deceased wife weren’t cancelled after her death

A grieving Winnipeg man wants to know why his late wife’s home care appointments weren’t cancelled after her death.

Eric De Schepper told CTV News an aide still came to his house Tuesday morning, even though he had notified the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) the service wasn’t needed anymore because his wife, Katherine Ellis, had died Saturday.

“A half an hour later, I called the WRHA after-hours nurse to let her know Kathy had passed and no further services were needed,” he said.

De Schepper said he received a strange phone call a day or two later. A home-care worker called to confirm they would be coming over Tuesday at 10 a.m. to look after Kathy. He told them Kathy had passed away.

“I thought that would be the end of it, but then on Tuesday at 10 o’clock a home-care worker actually showed up at my door,” he told CTV News. “That felt like a slap in the face.”

Half an hour later, a truck showed up at his house to deliver home care supplies.

“What is this home-care worker doing here? He could be looking after someone else who badly needs them,” he said.

De Schepper wonders what kind of communication is happening between the WRHA and the home care department.

“That indicates there is a very dysfunctional system there. There is a lack of communication.”

All of this happened after De Schepper had been waiting for weeks to get the palliative home care service in the first place.

De Schepper had been caring for his wife at home since January 11th. He said it was her wish to die at home.

He said they applied and qualified for palliative home care services but only doctors and nurses have come to the home. He said did not get any help with Katherine’s day-to-day needs or respite.

De Schepper said he is now experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

De Schepper said he has filed a disclosure of wrongdoing with the Manitoba Ombudsman’s office.

“I believe that this is inappropriate. This family has been subjected to undue hardships. This family has been subjected to trauma. I feel victimized.”

He hopes it leads to an investigation because he knows his family is not the only one trying to access home care and he wants there to be some accountability.

In a written statement, Tara-Lee Procter, regional lead, of WRHA Health Services – Community and Continuing Care, told CTV News their sincere condolences are with the family of Katherine Ellis.

“I will be reaching out to speak to Mr. De Schepper directly for the opportunity to listen and to offer our condolences and apologies,” Procter wrote.

“The WRHA Home Care Program provides an incredibly valuable service to our community with care delivered by committed and compassionate professionals. This situation nevertheless highlights that we need – and must – do better. I have asked today for a full review of the circumstances of this situation, along with our scheduling and management processes so that we prevent similar situations from happening in the future.” 

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