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‘Dire’ home-care gap stranding discharge-ready patients in hospital

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Christine Benoit has been told four times she’s medically fit to be discharged from Ottawa’s Saint-Vincent Hospital, but each time has been forced to stay because of a shortage of personal support workers (PSWs).

Benoit, 44, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 15 years ago and has used a wheelchair for the last decade. Before being admitted to hospital in June 2017, two PSWs came to her home three times a day to help with life’s necessities, from getting out of bed and dressed in the morning to cooking dinner and getting back into bed at night.

Without their help, Benoit can’t return to her apartment for more than a couple hours at a time.

“I feel guilty because I know there is a person who really needs my [hospital] bed, and I know I’m taking it from them,” she said.

A shortage of personal support workers has left Christine Benoit, who has multiple sclerosis, stranded in hospital for months. The 44-year-old requires two workers to assist her at home. 1:05

Celebration short-lived

Benoit underwent surgery to ease leg spasms in October 2017, and after five weeks’ recovery was transferred to Saint-Vincent Hospital.

In August, she was told she was well enough to go home.

“I was ecstatic,” Benoit recalled. 

The celebration was short-lived, however: she was soon told she couldn’t return home after all because there weren’t enough PSWs to continue caring for her.

The news was “disheartening,” Benoit said. “I felt like a third-class patient.”

Once a week, Christine Benoit returns to her apartment in Kanata, where she checks her email and has tea with a neighbour. But without home care, the visits can only last a couple hours before she has to return to the hospital. (Laurie Fagan/CBC )

Each Thursday, Benoit takes ParaTranspo from the hospital back to her ground floor apartment in a Kanata co-op, where she has just enough time to check her email and have tea with a neighbour before she has to go back. It’s a moment of necessary respite. 

“In the hospital there are people screaming and banging, and you can’t get away from it,” she said.

Benoit is also concerned she’ll lose the subsidized apartment if she doesn’t make the regular appearances.

Dire shortage of PSWs

According to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), which oversees home-care services in eastern Ontario, the daily cost of Benoit’s hospital bed is $563. For an acute care bed, that cost rises to about $1,000.

The average daily cost of home care is just $28 a day, although the level of care Benoit requires would likely cost more.

Chantale LeClerc, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, says there are at least six other patients in the same situation as Benoit. (Laurie Fagan/CBC )

But without available PSWs to provide the care, the cost is academic. LHIN CEO Chantale LeClerc described the shortage of PSWs, which has intensified over the past few months, as dire.

“I can only imagine her frustration,” LeClerc said of Benoit’s predicament. “It’s depriving them of the need to be home with loved ones, pets, and getting on with their lives.”

There’s nothing to gain anywhere in the system from keeping them in hospital.– Chantale LeClerc, CEO, Champlain LHIN

Those prolonged hospital stays aren’t just frustrating — they’re also costly, and they’re keeping needed beds tied up unnecessarily.

“There’s nothing to gain anywhere in the system from keeping them in hospital,” LeClerc said.

LeClerc said there are at least six other patients in the same situation as Benoit. 

Feeling ‘hopeless’

Amy Porteous, vice-president of communications, planning and family medicine at É​lisabeth Bruyère hospital, which oversees Saint-Vincent Hospital, agrees the situation is untenable.

“It is in our vested interest that we work with our partners because of the dire situation we’re in. No one should be put through this,” she said.

A working group struck by the LHIN is looking at potential solutions such as improving working hours for PSWs who work split shifts.

Two of the larger agencies that provide the home-care workers are trying to attract new recruits by offering signing bonuses.

In the meantime, after 18 months Benoit said she’s growing tired of hospital food and longing for a good steak cooked medium-rare.

“I feel very hopeless,” she said. “They know I am determined and I will do everything I can to go home, but I’m not sure how much fight I have left in me.” 

Christine Benoit was ready to be discharged from the hospital three months ago, but she can’t leave because of a shortage of personal support workers to help her at home. 7:58

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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