Raymond Ningeocheak’s family in Coral Harbour want him back home from the Embassy West senior living facility in Ottawa.
“He’s not being well taken care of,” said daughter Sarah Netser, who adds that her 80-year-old father would benefit from being around family and having country food.
Ningeocheak served as second vice-president with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. for many years and has been receiving care in Ottawa for the past year.
The challenge according to Netser is that Ningeocheak’s doctor wants to see the Elder for another appointment before clearing him to leave. Without medical clearance, the Government of Nunavut won’t pay to fly Ningeocheak home. The only other option is his family signing a waiver and finding a way to cover his flights and medical needs themselves.
Without knowing when her father will be able to get this next appointment, Netser wants to find any help she can to get Ningeocheak home in Coral Harbour. She planned to ask NTI and Kivalliq Inuit Association for help, estimating the costs would be upwards of $45,000.
“He’s been wanting to go home for a long time,” said Netser.
John Main, minister of health, stated in an email that the Government of Nunavut is unable to comment on individual cases, but explained that if a resident is medically cleared, community health staff work with the family to establish a plan of care based on community capacity and available resources.
In situations where Elders or families choose to continue with repatriation against medical advice, the Home, Community, and Continuing Care division provides the individual with a waiver to sign, which outlines what was determined in the care meeting.
“If the resident has not been medically cleared, the Government of Nunavut is unable to pay or help the resident return,” stated Main.
“The waiver confirms understanding that the individual was placed in care based on their assessed needs, which cannot be met by the community, and the choice to discharge the individual from the recommended care is against medical advice. Upon signing the waiver, the individual/family assumes responsibility for care and are responsible for arranging repatriation and providing the required care.”
Main went on to emphasize that Elders are placed in out-of-territory care because the available in-territory care and support was determined to be insufficient.
“Repatriation against medical advice comes with increased risk to a client’s health and well-being,” stated Main.