Is accessing compassionate leave benefit in Quebec an issue? A Montreal nurse says yes

Above watch: A nurse from Montreal discovered taking advantage of compassionate care programs can be extremely challenging. Billy Shields reports.

MONTREAL — When a loved one is terminally ill, it can be an extremely stressful time for families and to help, the government offers compassionate care benefits.

But as a nurse from Montreal discovered as she cared for her dying father, taking advantage of these programs can be extremely challenging.

Antonius Felicien, 81, died on April 13 from heart disease.

Antonius Felicien chose to die at home, sparking a bureaucratic nightmare for his daughter.
Antonius Felicien chose to die at home, sparking a bureaucratic nightmare for his daughter. Billy Shields/Global News

Now his daughter is calling for the province to streamline its bureaucracy.

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“I feel bad doing this because I am a health care worker, but it can happen to anyone if it can happen to me.” 

Marie Felicien said she has been given a bureaucratic runaround because her father chose to die at his home in LaSalle, instead of in a palliative care unit.

READ MORECompassionate care in Canada

Felicien said she hoped to take advantage of a the compassionate care program offered by the Quebec government, which reimburses caregivers when they stay at home to care for loved ones.

“It was back and forth, faxes and phone calls,” she said.

She said she gave up two months of pay to care for her father and has been trying to get reimbursed. However, she has encountered many difficulties navigating the system.

WATCH: Federal Budget: Rule changes for RRIFs and extension of compassionate care benefits

Her problem, she noted, is that part of the process involves a medical examination of her now-deceased father.

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Even when he was alive, she said, it was difficult to get a doctor to examine him because he chose to die at home.

“He wanted to be at home in his surrounding with his loved ones.” 

Patients’ advocate Paul Brunet told Global News the woman is being punished for helping the system.

“Let’s remind everybody that that kind of presence from her helped the system in not having to supply home care service,” he said.

He issued a stern call to those who work in the health care system to streamline the red tape.

“Let’s not be only bureaucrats. Let’s be civil servants. Civil servants usually serve.” 

She said she is concerned that if she, as a health worker, is facing challenges figuring out the system, how do others fare?

Have you ever tried to claim compassionate leave to care for a loved one in Quebec? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.