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Disabled Quebec man fights for right to shower 3 times a week

Fight for the right to shower
WATCH ABOVE: François Marcotte, a disabled man who lives in a nursing home, is trying to raise enough money so he can afford to shower three times a week. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.

QUEBEC CITY – A Quebec City man with an advanced stage of multiple sclerosis (MS) has become the unofficial spokesperson for better conditions in long-term care homes.

“I didn’t accept it – not for myself and not for others in the home,” François Marcotte said.

The 43-year-old has been living in a public care home for one year – his MS has degenerated to the point that he can no longer move anything but his head.

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He’s not even able to scratch his nose, Marcotte explained.

But he is able to use his voice and he’s been drawing a lot of attention to what may be a surprising fact: the care home only provides one shower a week to its residents.

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“It’s not just about hygiene,” he said. “It’s about comfort and calming my body spasms. Cold water calms my body.”

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After requesting more showers from staff and being told it wasn’t in the budget, Marcotte set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money to hire someone to give him at least three showers a week.

“It’s inconceivable in 2016,” Marcotte’s mother Odile Pelletier said.

 

READ MORE: Alberta mandates two baths a week for continuing care homes 

The campaign created debate in the National Assembly.

“I don’t find any justifiable excuse to tell that person that we cannot wash his back,” Gaétan Barrette said.

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Barrette added he immediately called the CEO of Quebec’s long-term care facilities, assuring “solutions will be put in place today.”

READ MORE: New pilot project won’t open door to privatize Quebec healthcare: Barrette

The opposition argued the minister needs to ensure all residents across Quebec have access to multiple showers.

“So, if I understand correctly, if you’re in a care home and you want more than one bath, you have to go to the media and then the minister will intervene?” Parti Québécois MNA Jean-François Lisée fired back in Question Period.

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Marcotte doesn’t think the government will make changes soon, but his mother said she’s proud of her son.

“He’s marvellous,” Pelletier said.

She thinks her son, who usually depends so much on other people’s help, will be able to help others get the care they need.