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“We are at our wits' end”

Mother says son discharged from institution without being offered alternative

by Robert Devet

Landon Webb is being discharged from an institution that can't take care of him. But Community Services offers no alternative, because of a lack of small option homes.  In 2013 people rallied at the legislature asking that government address that problem, but to no avail. Photo Robert Devet
Landon Webb is being discharged from an institution that can't take care of him. But Community Services offers no alternative, because of a lack of small option homes. In 2013 people rallied at the legislature asking that government address that problem, but to no avail. Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – In the morning of October 7th Brenda Webb received a devastating phone call from the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville.

She was told that her son Landon, who is labeled as living with severe developmental disabilities, will be discharged on October 14th, without a plan, and with no place for him to be cared for.

“The Rehabilitation Centre can't take care of him, and they say that if no place is found he will have to come back home,” Webb tells the Halifax Media Co-op. “My son is significantly handicapped. If they can't look after him, then we can't either.”

Webb does agree that the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre is not the proper place for Landon. She feels Landon is insufficiently supervised there. Way too often he is allowed to wander off, putting his safety at risk, she charges.

“He is very vulnerable, and people will take advantage of him,” says Webb. “He's been missing over a hundred times just since July. Then he is preyed upon by predators. He meets with unsavory characters. He is a risk to himself and he is a risk to others.”

Webb wants her son placed in a small option home, a place in the community where just a few persons live, supported by live-in staff.

“We want to see him settled. He needs and deserves respect like anybody else,” says Webb. “So placing him in home that isn't suitable isn't the answer. He needs a place that he can call home like anybody else would, and where he is properly cared for, and where he is safe and his well being is met.”

The problem is, there is a shortage of small option homes in Nova Scotia. The waiting list contains well over a thousand names, and if anything it's growing. A plan to fundamentally address these issues seems to have stalled since it was announced a couple of years ago.

The only way to get to the top of the list is through a crisis like the one Landon is facing. Community Services is looking for a solution, but so far to no avail, Webb reports.

Community Services is aware of the situation.

“We know that parents of disabled adults face many difficult choices and they want what is best for their loved one,” writes Lori Errington, spokesperson for the department. “We do our best to find a placement that meets their expectations. The care and safety of our clients is the first priority when looking at placement options. We also consider their right to inclusion in society, and look for community-based placements whenever possible.”

“No client would be released from care without some form of support in place, whether it’s direct family support at home, or an appropriate placement,” Errington writes.

So far it looks like Landon is indeed heading home, while the parents insist that they can't provide the necessary care.

The experience is taking its toll on the Webb family.

“You can't sleep, you worry all the time,” says Webb. “We love our son dearly and we don't want anything to happen to him. We are at our wits' end.”

Click here for more articles on Community Services support for people like Landon and related issues.

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

 

 

 


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