The province’s Ombudsman said on Thursday that the glaring shortcomings in Quebec’s long-term care homes have been repeatedly flagged to the authorities long before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic ravaged CHSLDs.
Marie Rinfret pointed out several flaws in her annual report and said that the provincial government has thereby failed to implement solutions to address the longstanding failures in the eldercare system.
She wrote that factors like understaffing, employee burnout, lack of qualified workers, and dilapidated premises amongst many other problems have gushed to the surface, and if not say exploded, she added.
Moreover, the appalling state of the long-term care resources that this picture demonstrates has been repeatedly condemned for decades now.
The devastating findings in the report go back to the 2019-2020 period, until March 31, when the COVID-19 health crisis was only in its third week.
Rinfret stated that it would have been unlikely for Quebec’s health ministry to have had a perfect response to the pandemic, but the government had been forewarned several times about the shortcomings in the seniors’ residences much ahead of the crisis.
She went onto add that unfortunately as the solutions were postponed, the elders are now deprived of a safe, compassionate, and responsive living environment. She also said that to sum it all up, everybody has done their homework and at a certain point they all have to admit that there is nothing more to say about the matter and that no more information is required further, and that all it requires now is action.
The health crisis has focused glaring light on the province’s nursing homes and the eldercare system as the virus has spread through the residences during the first wave of the pandemic.
Moreover, the Canadian military which was called in as reinforcement in long-term care facilities in the spring have also produced reports on the various challenges faced by the homes amidst the pandemic that includes staffing shortages, among other major problems.
Since then, Quebec has trained thousands of new orderlies to address the shortage in the long-term care homes ahead of the potential second wave in the fall.
Health Minister Christian Dube has stated that he was aware of Rinfret’s report and that he has planned to take a closer look at it. He also acknowledged the fact that there have been longstanding issues in CHSLDs that the government is now trying to fix. He realistically said that not everything can be corrected in few months.
The Ombudsman’s report came out after the Quebec Government released the findings of an investigation into Residence Herron, which is a private long-term care home in Dorval, where 38 people had died between March 26 and April 16. Later the report found the owners stating the reason as organizational negligence.