Ottawa hospital spends millions on temporary housing for individuals with autism – w/video

screenshot taken from the CBC News Ottawa website

Michael Neve, screenshot taken from the CBC News Ottawa website

Ottawa — A hospital in the Canadian capital has been spending millions of dollars to make sure patients with autism are properly cared for as they await transfer to group homes.

The Ottawa Hospital has taken in four individuals with autism as they wait for their names to be at the top part of the very long wait list of individuals on the spectrum who are eagerly awaiting transfer to group homes.

Among the individuals with ASD is Michael Neve. Michael was at first left unsupervised living with his family’s friends, until one day when he almost died. Michael’s condition became so severe that he started being unresponsive, and stopped eating and caring for himself that he had to wear diapers. His sister, Jennifer Neve, had to quit her job in Vancouver and move to Ottawa to keep an eye on him. She told:

“He was self-harming. That was not good, he needed medical attention. When he was in the hospital, he stopped talking, stopped eating, he was wearing diapers, he lost all control of himself. Sort of like a catatonic state.”

Since Michael was taken in at the Emergency Department of Ottawa Hospital in November of 2013, he has been staying at the hospital for about a year and a half.

Hospital officials say the cost for Michael’s stay at the hospital’s psychiatric ward is about $1,250 per day, not including the amount the hospital is paying for a round-the-clock security guard whom they hired to keep an eye on him.

Apart from Michael, there also three others with autism waiting to be placed in group homes.

All in all, the cost being shouldered by the hospital to care for the individuals on the spectrum while they await group housing amount to millions of dollars. But according to the Ottawa Hospital Clinical Programs VP Debra Bournes:

“The bottom line is these people can wait for years to be able to be discharged into a place where they can have the best quality of life possible.”

Source: Julie Ireton on the CBC News Ottawa website: Ottawa hospital spends millions to house people with autism