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.

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  1. -community health staff work with the family to establish a plan of care based on community capacity and available resources.
    There is a home care nurse in Coral Harbour with trained Inuit care takers for elders.
    Any medical staff cannot refuse medical care in Canada to anyone.
    Maybe we should trust the family and Raymond to make the decision for him to go home.

  2. There is way more to this story than what is being reported in the news and on social media, mainly because health care providers have to maintain privacy. So, really, the general public can say whatever they want but, a health facility can’t really defend itself.

    Do you think elders are sent off to the south without the family’s permission? Of course not! The family wanted and CONSENTED for this unfortunate person to be sent to Ottawa, just like anybody would need to consent for any other medical procedure. And if he’s not medically cleared to travel home, guess where he’s likely going to end up? Probably the health centre in Rankin Inlet, which is NOT home for this man.

    Does it suck? Of course it does. But is this story completely honest, NO it’s not.

    1. Let’s really be honest. You are right that medical information is confidential but you are wrong on almost every other point.

      You are satisfied with the level of care offered to elders? Well, families and communities are not.

      Health professionals are totally honest with families when they describe the treatment and care people will get in the south? How could they- most medical professionals have never seen the facilities they are describing. And how would they know what Inuit elders value and need?

      Medical consent is permanent and can never be reversed? So if I agree for my child to stay at the hospital am I allowed to change that decision in a week? Yes of course. Even more so if the child is not getting the promised treatment.

      Families can “send away” elders? They were asked to “consent”? Wow. You need to rethink that.

      “Medical clearance” is an exact scientific standard with no cultural bias? What planet are you living on.

      It’s okay to “assess” people in a language they don’t understand, from a culture you are unaware of ? Only if you are an unmitigated imperialist.

      I hope your parents are safe from your decision-making. Far too often “professionals” are content to talk about “limited resources” and “unrealistic expectations” when the impact is on the “other”.

      May your mother never be held and “housed” for years in comparable conditions.

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