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Claims of ongoing theft at local care facility

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – People living at a complex care facility in Vancouver are outraged over what they claim is an ongoing problem with theft.

About 120 people live at the 60-year-old George Pearson Centre. Dan Gladstone has been there since 2009, and says people in the building seem to report missing money and possessions every week.
“It became apparent to me that because of the timing of some of the thefts we weren’t simply dealing with random individuals walking in off the street in an unsecured building, but rather, systemic theft,” says Gladstone

He believes workers at the facility are responsible for at least some of the problem.

“When we look at some of the circumstances, the only people that would have had the opportunity would have been people in the employ here.”

Gladstone says he has had cash stolen from a locked drawer in his room, while taking a shower. He says others have had similar experiences, including one woman who won money during a casino outing.

“The care aid placed the $100 in a locked drawer on a Friday night, and Saturday morning when [the patient] woke up and went to get a $20 bill, her $100 was gone,” says Gladstone.

The aging facility houses adults and seniors in need of significant ongoing medical care and support. Vancouver Coastal Health wants to see a better facility built to cope with patients’ needs. The health authority’s president, David Ostrow, says Pearson was never meant to handle the complex care requirements of those now living there.

“People are getting their medications at the right time, and they’re getting suction and that sort of thing, but it’s way more than that when you’re actually living there, and so there I would say that care isn’t ideal,” Ostrow says.

He adds that patients at Pearson will be involved in planning for a potential new facility and care model, and says steps have already been taken to address their worries over theft.

“We’ve met with the patients, and their families, and their advocates about some of this,” he says. “We’ve made some changes to the staffing. We hope that will correct the measures.”

Ostrow says theft is an issue at every one of Vancouver Coastal’s long-term care organizations.

Back in 2009, a quadriplegic man living at the George Pearson Centre had a First Nation mask worth $10,000, stolen off the wall above his bed.