Patients left without television for 6 weeks?

It was alarming to hear that the company in charge of the television system at the Strait-Richmond Hospital took six weeks to restore service.

On Dec. 12, it was confirmed that Health Hub Solutions finally fixed a damaged module at the Evanston health care facility.

Darren Arsenault, who is a member of the Toronto Police Service and a former resident of Cleveland, told The Reporter that his father was transferred to the Evanston health care facility last month.

After serving as an RCMP officer for 35 years, then another 18 years in Adult Protection, Arsenault said his father suffered a stroke early this month and was initially sent to St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish.

Since his father first arrived in Richmond County, Arsenault said he was disappointed to learn that the hospital’s television service had been down since the end of December.

Upon hearing from his mother that the system still wasn’t working on Jan. 22, Arsenault contacted Health Hub Solutions, which told him the system was working, and if it wasn’t operating fully, the hospital would have to reboot the system.

When that still didn’t work, Arsenault said Health Hub Solutions sent the hospital a pulse from Mississauga to get it up and running.

Again this didn’t work, so Health Hub Solutions told Arsenault they were going to send a pulse from the company’s technical department, then sent him an email confirming that it was done and all the hospital’s TVs were up and running.

After calling the hospital, Arsenault was told that the system still wasn’t operating.

Keeping in mind each call to Health Hub Solutions takes about 45 minutes, Arsenault again called the Ontario company which then hung up on him, and after calling back, his number was blocked.

Arsenault spoke with Health Hub Solutions two weeks ago, and was told the problem would be fixed in 48 hours, but after three days, it remained inoperable.

In this time, no one from Health Hub Solutions contacted the hospital and new crews were dispatched, Arsenault said.

Nova Scotia Health Authority spokesperson Brendan Elliot told The Reporter that the system was out of order since Dec. 30 after a short power outage.

The NSHA was in “frequent contact” with Health Hub Solutions, which told the health authority that the problem was with an amplifier in the hospital building, he noted.

Elliot said Health Hub Solutions was trying to get a company to conduct the repairs on Feb. 8, but as of Feb. 9, the televisions remained dark, according to Arsenault.

Then on Feb. 11 technicians were at Strait-Richmond, and by the next day, Arsenault reported that the problem was fixed and the televisions were working again.

That was a month-and-a-half after the power outage first knocked out service.

Were it not for the son of a patient consistently pressing the issue, it’s quite possible this problem would have remained unrepaired for some time.

That is simply unacceptable. Health Hub Solutions has been made responsible for the television system, and they allowed that service to remain unavailable for six weeks.

Not only did they not fix the problem during those six weeks, it was almost impossible to contact Health Hub Solutions to inform them of the problem, and to find out when the problem would be repaired.

Not just Arsenault, it appears the NSHA also did not have an easy time following-up with the company, so if the provincial government cannot get answers, patients and their families, have little chance.

Not only was this a headache for Arsenault, this is also a burden on nursing staff who were constantly testing the system to verify if it was working, in addition to their many other duties.

As Arsenault noted, this is a big issue for those staying at the hospital because TV gives them something to occupy their time, when they already have few options to do so.

While in the grand scheme of a hospital, a television system isn’t the highest priority, its presence can help patients recover, and its absence for people lying in hospital beds for days and weeks, is unacceptable.