I have just listened to our premier, Mr. François Legault, speak on the radio about how he intends to mitigate the horrible situation in some CHSLDs in Quebec, particularly in the private sector.
In his daily briefing, he suggested that retired healthcare workers apply to work in CHSLDs. This is both irresponsible and unethical.
Almost a month ago, he told all those over 70 to self-isolate because of the increased risk factor for seniors. Then he told everyone to self-isolate and avoid going out for all but essential services.
And now we are looking at a peak in the number of positive cases in the province. And now he’s asking this vulnerable population to go back to work in CHSLSDs that have cases of COVID-19.
As for whose fault it is that 31 people at Herron Residence in Dorval have died and many more are infected, it’s too late for that battle. I would guess it’s a combination of the regional health board not reacting quickly enough to the needs of the residence with protective gear and not inspecting the residence sooner to see that protocols were followed, and the fault of the owners for allegedly downplaying the situation and keeping silent on the statistics, while their staff, out of fear most probably, deserted the residents.
These residents are more than statistics. They are mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, husbands and wives, beloved and cherished members of their families who were left dehydrated and starving, to lie in their own excrement for days. How can we even begin to imagine this?
What does this say about our society, our first-world country, with its healthcare for all, for all except it seems, the most vulnerable?
I understand the need to recruit healthcare workers but why seniors? Why not start with nursing students at CEGEPs who have had their education interrupted. And pay them enough to make it worth their while! And how much training does it take to change a diaper, feed a person, give them a glass of water, and make sure they are healthy?
Testing for COVID-19 has to happen in all residences and it has to happen now. Enough with the talk about what will happen. Many of us have family members in these residences and are terribly concerned that we are not being told the whole truth about how our parents are faring.
Legault said he will ask that one worker in every residence be responsible for communicating with families. It’s a start, but let it be the owners and administrators and not those who are caring for seniors on a daily basis. They have enough on their hands.
It’s time for management, some of whom have raked in huge profits while underpaying their workers — even in some cases, compelling them to work two jobs to make ends meet, and adding to the risk — to be totally transparent with us and with our government. We are waiting for your call.