Abandoned by care worker, Surrey woman with cerebral palsy uses technology to summon help
VANCOUVER -- April 15 update: The care worker has contacted CTV News and apologized.
A Surrey, B.C., woman with cerebral palsy says she can't understand why one of her caregivers abandoned her, leaving her alone for hours.
“I felt very sad and upset,” 56-year-old Jenny Taylor said in an interview with CTV News Vancouver.
Taylor is confined to a wheelchair and requires round-the-clock care to help her with everything from dressing and feeding to washing and brushing her teeth.
"She can move her arms, but from the chest down she has no movement,” explained Julia Alanya, one of Taylor’s long-time caregivers.
Taylor says a new care assistant - who was working her first shift alone - put Taylor in a sling so she could use the washroom.
The worker then told Taylor she couldn’t do the job anymore and that she was getting another worker to come so she could leave, Taylor says.
According to Taylor, that other worker says she was not called. Taylor was left alone, sitting on the toilet in a sling as the minutes slowly turned into hours.
“I felt very sad and upset,” she said.
Taylor says she realized it would be about 12 hours before her next caregiver would arrive. She knew she couldn’t wait that long for help.
Then she remembered there just might be a way to summon some assistance.
Inside a bathroom cupboard was a Google smart speaker. She couldn’t reach it, but she could call out to it.
“She was able to talk to Google and call her sister,” explained Alanya, who says the sister then called her.
Alanya says Jenny was still sitting on the toilet when she arrived.
“She was still attached to the lift but she was sliding off the toilet,” explained Alanya.
CTV News tried to reach the caregiver accused of abandoning Taylor, but she did not return calls.
Alanya says she and Taylor have also tried to contact the worker, but have not had any success. She says at one point, they did receive a text from the woman, who said she was in hospital.
Meanwhile, Taylor is warning others to be cautious when hiring caregivers and ensure references check out.
Alanya says they wanted to follow up on the references from the worker who suddenly left, but she had asked them to wait.
"Because it was the weekend, she asked me to please contact them on Monday because she wasn’t able to reach them to say someone would call for references,” Alanya explained.
Taylor says while she still doesn’t understand why the caregiver left her, she now understands the importance of a back-up plan in case things go sideways.
And she’s grateful for the piece of technology that allowed her to call for help.