Two homeless patients from Surrey were sent in a taxi to the Salvation Army Shelter according to a letter from Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress file)

Fraser Health slammed for discharging homeless patients into taxis bound for Chilliwack

Mayor Popove asks Fraser Health to address concerns he has about this happening twice last month

Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove is demanding action and answers from Fraser Health after two patients were discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and transported by taxi to a Chilliwack homeless shelter.

Popove is asking Fraser Health officials in a March 5 letter to address the “serious concerns” he has about the unacceptable practice of discharging patients into taxis destined for local shelters.

“A homeless shelter is no place for a person with health concerns or special medical needs,” Popove wrote. “Discharging patients into homeless shelters when they still require some level of care is not an acceptable practice.”

Fraser Health spokesperson Tasleem Juma said they have received the letter from the Chilliwack mayor and are looking into the specific concerns.

A “shelter cot” is not suitable for a recently discharged patient, the mayor argued, and he wants to know why this happened twice, as Chilliwack already has challenges with its shelters.

“Are hospitals regularly discharging patients into homeless shelters? If so, what can be done to change this practice?” Popove demanded. “Secondly, I would like to know why vulnerable people are being sent to Chilliwack homeless shelters from another community.

“How is it possible that a 76-year-old woman with multiple significant health concerns could have been discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and sent via taxi to a homeless shelter in Chilliwack over 70 km away from her home, friends and family?”

Part of the problem is that rumours on the street abound about homeless people in Chilliwack being shipped or bused or taxied to Chilliwack from other areas, which has fostered feelings of resentment and frustration from the public.

“Chilliwack already has a very high population of homeless people per capita and we have been working hard to advocate for shelter and housing and, in many cases, have provided financial support,” Popove said in his letter.

READ MORE: What is Chilliwack doing?

“Our residents know their tax dollars are going to support significant housing first projects in our community and feel this investment should not be used to make Chilliwack a destination for homeless people from throughout the region.”

Mayor Popove called the case of a senior being sent here from Surrey Memorial, “a sad and terrible situation” and is asking for answers.

The first case was a 76-year-old woman with mobility and severe incontinence who was sent via taxi to the Chilliwack Salvation Army on Feb. 2, arriving with a walker and unable to attend to her own hygiene. Salvation Army officials were unable to accommodate the patient. On Feb. 11, she was moved to a temporary shelter, the Portal, where stairs are not an issue, but dealing with constant fecal matter has raised serious concerns for both staff and shelter clients.

“Unfortunately, this individual became increasingly frustrated over her health issues and became belligerent with staff and threatened to kill them.”

She left on her own, returning to the Salvation Army.

Then on Feb. 22, the Salvation Army received a phone call regarding a second patient who was being discharged from Surrey Memorial Hospital and needed a bed. This individual was in a wheelchair, had open wounds on his feet and needed to be in a hospital bed.

“This information was not disclosed by the social worker and shelter staff realized they would be unable to provide the level of care this individual requires,” the letter from the Chilliwack mayor continued.

“Based on these two instances, I have several serious concerns that I would like you to address.”

See www.theprogress.com for more on this story as it becomes available.

READ MORE: Housing Hub works and needs funding


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

Chilliwack Agriculture Tour goes virtual during pandemic

Rather than bus tourists to local farms, tour stops will be posted on Facebook and Instagram

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

VIDEO: gunshot incident at Langley gas station

No immediate reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read