Winnipeg official opposed transfer of senior with dementia who later killed

Oct 30, 2014

WINNIPEG _ An inquest has heard an official opposed the transfer of a Winnipeg senior with dementia to a care home where he killed an 87-year-old man suffering from Alzheimer's. Gregg Lussier, a home-care case co-ordinator with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, recommended that Joe McLeod should remain in custody at the remand centre until his behaviour stabilized. McLeod was being held at the remand centre because his family couldn't care for him and he had assaulted his own wife. Instead, McLeod was transferred to Parkview Place within days after media made inquiries about his case. Six months later, McLeod killed Frank Alexander. 

The inquest heard Parkview Place was an older facility without any special beds, staffing or security for dealing with psychiatric-geriatric cases or aggressive behaviours. Lussier had met with McLeod and his family in February 2010 at their home about receiving respite care. McLeod insisted he didn't want any home-care services and his wife Rose acquiesced to her husband. The couple's daughter, Faye Jashyn, said at the time that something ``bad was going to have to happen'' before they'd get the help they needed, Lussier recalled. He had to close their file because they'd refused help.

The file was reopened in September 2010 when the senior was locked up in the remand centre. Lussier said he was contacted by McLeod's family who wanted him moved out of the remand centre and into a care home. He told the family that McLeod's behaviour needed to stabilize first. Lussier said he talked to his supervisor, McLeod's primary care nurse and McLeod's family about having him checked by a geriatric mental health team and placed at Seven Oaks Hospital's geriatric mental health unit. In the meantime, McLeod was reportedly doing OK in the Remand Centre, said Lussier.

He said the health authority's vice-president of long-term care sent out an email saying the provincial Liberals were holding a press conference about McLeod and media had inquired about the senior being jailed for assaulting his wife. Within days, Alexander was moved to Parkview Place. ``Did it occur to you that Mr. McLeod who'd recently exhibited violent behaviour (towards his wife) could have a propensity to exhibit violent behaviour towards other residents?'' the lawyer for Alexander's family Bill Gange asked Lussier. ``Yes,'' Lussier responded. Cloutier is expected to testify later this week.

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