Provincial home care program suspended for some because of COVID-19

Health PEI has suspended its home care service for some people as it moves toward providing only essential services because of COVID-19.

Home care provides services for those still living at home but in need of medical care or support that patients can't provide for themselves.

During a briefing Wednesday, Health PEI's chief of nursing Marion Dowling said home care staff have been asked to suspend visits "that could be safely deferred for clients."

She said staff are offering services over the phone where possible. Dowling could not specify how many clients are affected.

No 'respite'

Wendy Chappell's 88-year-old mother has Alzheimer's disease and has been living with Chappell in her Valleyfield, P.E.I., home for the last two and a half years.

In that time, Chappell's mom has had home care workers visit the house twice a week to help bathe her, assist with her physiotherapy exercises and other medical needs.

Wendy Chappell/Facebook

But as of a few days ago, Chappell's visits were suspended for the foreseeable future because of COVID-19. 

Chappell was told her mom would eventually be put back on the list for home care. In the meantime, Chappell and her husband have taken over the full-time care of her mother.

"I'm able to provide her with her showers," Chappell said. "It's not my most comfortable thing to do, but it's also not the end of the world in terms of the bigger scheme.

"It also means that we go without any kind of respite. She goes without any kind of respite."

'Stresses are going to just multiply'

Still, Chappell considers her family lucky given their circumstances.

"I think about all those people in nursing care that are in lockdown and have no visitors," Chappell said.

"It also means that for folks who are looking after loved ones in the community at home who don't have the resources, that the stresses are going to just multiply."

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