LONDON, ONT. -- A London man is finding out the hard way that some health services are falling by the wayside as the health are community focuses on flattening the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dave Houghton was just trying to be part of the solution in trying times. His wife, who has terminal cancer, has been staying at Parkwood Institute in London in palliative care since last summer.

When he was asked to bring her home to free up space for acute care beds, now needed for the pandemic, he was only happy to help out. That’s when he ran into a brick wall.

“I was not too happy about that because we were asked to help out,” he explains. “I’ve taken leave now off work to be with my wife to be a caregiver. So I have less income and now when I need the help with the money it’s being very difficult to get.”

Houghton needs ostomy supplies for his wife, along with a chair lift. The lift costs $150 per month to rent or $3,000 to buy.

He contacted Ontario’s Assisted Devices Program (ADP) which covers up to 75 per cent of the cost for people in need. What he found on the other end of the receiver was an outgoing message saying the office was closed due to COVID-19.

Now he’s wondering why health services such as ADP are not considered essential by the province.

“Why would you not leave this open, when we have a health care system that is going to be stressed, and help those of us who are wanting to help out and move out and go home, and make it easier for us to do that.”

Houghton’s MPP, Terence Kernaghan, has stepped in to help while the office is closed. Kernaghan says there has to be a better way to deal with the unexpected.

“We appreciate that things aren’t operating as usual, and in some cases far slower. But we also want to make sure that places like ADP also don’t allow people to fall through the cracks during the crisis.”

For now, Houghton has dug into his own savings to bring his wife home - until financial aid comes through.

“They are trying to help but it shouldn’t be this difficult to get help.”