Connecting Family to Healthcare

Photo of the blog author By Rochelle Burnett,
Toronto Police Service
Published: 11:59 a.m. April 8, 2016

Two sons are thanking police officers for helping connect their mother to mental heath resources.

A man in TPS uniform and a woman standing in front of a TPS vehicle
Constables Chris Sirbos and Stefania Garofoli outside of 13 Division

Two sons, estranged from their mother over the years, would circle around their mother’s house to see if she was doing okay. They were concerned that her mental health was slowly declining. One day, they saw water seeping out around the house, through the cracks on the home, and called police. Constables Stefania Garofoli and Chris Sirbos received the radio call to do a Well Being Check. 

Once on scene, the officers were able to see water everywhere, Sirbos describing it  “as if there was a waterfall opened up on the second floor of the house.” 

The basement had about a foot of water, which alerted them to the potential hazards, such as the electrical risks. After gaining access with the sons, they discovered a pipe had burst, possibly from the cold weather, flooding the house. The heating was off.

“The inside of the house, because of the amount of water in there, was physically colder than standing outside” said Sirbos. No one was home.

Canvassing the neighbourhood, they established the mother had been seen in the past few days but the officers prepared themselves to establish a missing person case. Later that evening, the sons called to report that their mother had returned home, but refused to speak to them.

Both Sirbos and Garofoli returned to check on her condition. Garofoli was able to speak with the mother in Italian and, after a lengthy conversation that helped to calm her, convinced the mother to go to the hospital for a mental health assessment. Sirbos said the nurses at Toronto Western Hospital showed a great deal of empathy and professionalism in caring for the woman.

One of the brothers wrote to the Service to compliment the officers on their work:

“…Right from the beginning, these two police officers were extremely professional and courteous. I have dealt with the police on other occasions and was always very happy, however these two officers stand out above and beyond any emergency services worker I have ever dealt with. They both communicated really well with us throughout the whole situation and they would follow up on a regular basis, which made me and my brother feel that they cared and had our best interests at heart. What really stood out to me is how Chris Sirbos dealt with a disorderly man at the Toronto Western Hospital shortly after my mother was admitted, which showed me what an amazing person and police officer he is. This man was very bothersome and would have elicited a more violent reaction from anyone else. His compassion and care defused the situation rapidly and he even went above and beyond to ensure this man was being taken care of and fed. Stefania Garofoli also impressed with her patience and kindness when dealing with our mother, who is extremely hard to deal with. Police officers like Chris Sirbos and Stefania Garofoli exemplify and embody excellence in conduct, dedication, compassion and commitment to the community. Police officers like Chris Sirbos and Stefania Garofoli are the reason why I always have and always will continue to support the Toronto Police. “

Both officers are happy they were able to help the sons re-establish a connection with their mother and connect her to healthcare resources.

Sirbos is still in contact with the sons to make sure she is still okay. 

“It was nice to see an outcome of what we do, because we go from call to call to call. We don’t know what happens once we leave. This is why we do our job. This is where we feel good.”

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