Gord Arthur sits at his kitchen table surrounded by paperwork. His 21-year-old son Declan sustained a brain injury in 2021 after an ATV accident. The accident left him in a coma for eight months. Declan can no longer walk or talk. He relies on a g-tube for nutrition.
Arthur didn’t want his son to go into a nursing facility. The community of Kelowna, BC supported Arthur as he brought his son home last spring. They widened doorways, installed an outdoor elevator, and helped purchase a wheelchair van for Declan.
However, the province refuses to approve an application for Declan to receive his disability benefits. They say he makes too much money to qualify. Declan receives $2,131.00 per month from his previous employer’s long-term disability insurance, which is $573 more than the maximum.
The cost of caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury is astronomical. Chandi Edmonds, a professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that the lifetime costs of a patient’s treatment for a traumatic brain injury are estimated to run from $85,000 to $3 million. Declan requires incontinence supplies, physical therapy, and formula for his feeding tube. Arthur estimates that his son’s supplies cost $5,000 per month.
However, institutional care is also very expensive. The monthly cost for a public nursing home in Canada can be as much $3,000 a month. A private nursing home can range from $3,000 to $7,000 a month. For people like Declan who require intensive care, the costs are even higher, ranging from an additional $1,000-3,000 per month according to The Financial Post. Unfortunately, living in a nursing home would actually allow Declan to have $400 leftover for the month.
Disabled Canadians should be able to get the help they require in order to live life to the fullest. No parent should have to put their child in a long term care facility. For millions of disabled people, not receiving services is a matter of life or death. Care can’t wait because people will die without it.
Edmonds, Chandi. “The Steep Cost of Brain Injury Recovery.” Northwestern Now, Northwestern University , 28 Dec. 2015, https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2015/12/opinion-next-avenue-brain-injury/.
Femia, Victoria. “GoFundMe for 20-Year Old Man’s Family Following ATV Crash.” Castanet, GVIC Communications, 21 Oct. 2021, https://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/349540/GoFundMe-for-20-year-old-man-s-family-following-ATV-crash.
Prediger, Tracey. “Severely Brain Injured Son Denied Disability Benefits , Father Fights for Change.” Alaska Highway News, Glacier Media, 8 Feb. 2023, https://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/highlights/severely-brain-injured-son-denied-disability-benefits-father-fights-for-change-6497314.
Rechtshaffen, Ted. “Here’s What It Costs to Live in a Retirement Home — and the Bottom Line …” The Financial Post, Postmedia Place, 13 Mar. 2019, https://financialpost.com/personal-finance/retirement/heres-what-it-costs-to-live-in-a-retirement-home-and-the-bottom-line-is-less-than-you-might-think.