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Coronavirus: Phone service at Brossard seniors’ residence making communication difficult

The phone connection at Sélection Retraite Cherbourg in Brossard has been spotty leaving some locked-in seniors in the lurch. Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
The phone connection at Sélection Retraite Cherbourg in Brossard has been spotty leaving some locked-in seniors in the lurch. Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Sylvain Trudeau/Global News

Selection Group, which operates 44 high-end private seniors residences across Quebec, is having difficulty dealing with the volume of calls in some of its residences.

With seniors in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their only contact with the outside is often limited to phone calls.

Monica Rayes, whose father lives at the group’s Sélection Retraite Cherbourg in Brossard, has been having trouble getting in touch with him.

The telephone connection has been spotty at the residence for two days now, Rayes told Global News on Wednesday.

“I was unable to get through to him on the phone,” she said, adding he has a direct line.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Documenting Montreal residents in self-isolation amid COVID-19 pandemic

The situation has left her worried. Rayes’ father has an underlying health condition and needs medication.

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“I can’t see him and now I can’t even speak with him,” she said.

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Global News contacted Selection Group, who admitted to having problems with the phone lines.

“We’re on it,” said Mylène Dupéré, vice-president of public affairs and corporate communications at Selection Group.

“All of our IT team is trying to fix the situation.”

The problem seems to be that the phone lines are overwhelmed with people trying to contact family, friends or others at the same time.

“There are a certain number of lines we are allowed to have,” Dupéré said, explaining that when the number of lines allowed is reached, calls don’t go through making for intermittent phone service.

Dupéré agreed it can be stressful for residents and their families but said temporary solutions are being put in place until the situation is resolved.

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“We have a new procedure, it will start today or tomorrow with staff checking in on residents two times a day,” she said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal has close to 50% of Quebec’s COVID-19 cases

They’ll be tasked with making sure residents are doing well both physically and in terms morale. Dupéré said they will also have a cellphone if residents need to make a call.

Rayes’ father was eventually able to connect with her on the phone Wednesday evening, providing temporary relief.

“He’s OK,” she said, but added that no one checked in on him and the internet is also down.

For Rayes, a permanent fix can’t come soon enough.