A 22-year-old from Langley who suffers from epilepsy is refusing to leave Vancouver General Hospital until her health care needs are met.
Tavia Marlatt can have anywhere from six to 50 seizures a day. She’s been at VGH undergoing a series of epilepsy tests that revealed she’s been having seizures from three parts of her brain.
And now, she’s refusing to go home until Fraser Health can meet her needs for an at-home care plan.
Through a YouTube channel, Tavia has been documenting her stay at the hospital, while advocating for herself and others with epilepsy.
“They will not send me home with a care plan for having funding for a nurse or something to take care of me, so my mom can be a mom to the rest of my siblings and work her job,” Tavia explained in a YouTube video.
“Basically, what the plan is, is stay here until my needs are met or the police come.”
Tavia’s mother, Renee Marlatt, said the family has been asking the Fraser Health Authority for in-home care support at their family home since Tavia turned 19.
But according to Renee, Fraser Health has repeatedly denied funding for in-home care, and has instead suggested that Tavia live in a group home.
“Our goal is to work collaboratively with the Health Authority to come up with a solution. We want funding released to have staff at home,” explained Renee.
Later this afternoon (Friday, April 5), Renee and Tavia are scheduled to meet with the director of Langley Memorial Hospital.
“We’re going into that with an open mind, and hoping for some type of resolution or plan. If we don’t come to a resolution or plan, Tavia will be staying at VGH,” Renee added.
On Thursday afternoon, Fraser Health Authority sent a statement that said they continue to have conversations with the family “in order to find the best path to the most appropriate care.”
“Fraser Health has offered to move the patient as soon as possible into another health-care facility within our region so that we can work on a long-term plan with the family. Fraser Health is also setting up a meeting for the family with a home health community case manager to work on a plan to support the patient’s needs in her own home with expanded care options.”
Tavia was diagnosed with epilepsy at age seven, and the severity of it increased when she was eleven.
According to Renee, Tavia’s condition was more manageable when she was school-aged, because the family had the support of her being at school during the day with people who could administer medications if needed.
Since becoming an adult, the medical system has failed Tavia, according to Renee.
“She needs support to be successful, and hasn’t been given the opportunity to be successful, and that’s hard to see. She [Tavia] says ‘it’s hard to connect and make friends because they’re too independent for me.’ It’s hard to watch her suffer.”
Renee explained she has had to miss a significant amount of work to care for Tavia, and said she’s unable to spend much time with her other daughter while caring for Tavia.
“It affects the whole family.”
Ideally, Renee is hoping she will be able to have a meeting with Health Minister Adrian Dix in the future.