A woman who was told it was not possible to bring her father home from a seniors’ facility in Montreal, but is now allowed, is asking for the provincial government to provide clarity on the rules.
Adora Law says she is lucky that her father has so far escaped the novel coronavirus, but until Wednesday, Law was worried it would not be for long.
“I feel that the refusal to allow my father out immediately is a death sentence by the Quebec government,” Law told Global News.
For several days, Law was struggling to remove her 89-year-old father, John Law, from the Grace Dart Extended Care Center CHSLD where he is currently living.
The facility has reported an increasing number cases of COVID-19, so Law wants to temporarily care for him at home while the crisis is controlled.
“The government directives don’t allow him to leave,” Law said.
On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the CIUSSS responsible for the Grace Dart Extended Care Centre told Global News it is not possible to pick up loved ones if an outbreak of COVID-19 is declared in the CHSLD, whether or not the person presents symptoms.
“The risk of spread is too high,” Guillaume Bérubé explained in an email to Global News.
When asked about Law’s case on Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault said he didn’t know the details of the case, but that people are usually in seniors’ care facilities because they need the help from nurses or doctors.
Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann said she would look into the case.
On Wednesday, Law says she was told by the facility that her father could go home with her.
“I’m just hoping it’s not the media pressure that is what made it change because I feel like every family should not require the media to come in and step in on their behalf,” Law told Global News.
“I think the government should listen to people and be able to consider it.”
Law says she feels for other families in her situation and would like the government to provide clarity on the rules.
“The CIUSSS had given a clear and definitive answer of ‘no, he’s not allowed to go during any outbreak, that’s our rule, point final’. But the government was able to come and sort of explain what their rules are to allow someone to go out,” Law said.
“I’d like the public to know what those rules and conditions are and need to be met.”
Late Wednesday evening, the West Island CIUSSS explained why permission was granted to the Law family.
“Without commenting specifically on the case, the CIUSSS made the decision to accommodate the family and the resident based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds,” said spokesperson Guillaume Bérubé. He said a rigorous analysis was done, and all necessary precaution measures were applied.
Alexandre Pregent, a member of the union that represents staff working in West Island CIUSSS, spoke to the matter.
“I have to be honest. Sometimes during the daily press conferences Mme. McCann or François Legault are giving directives and the CIUSSS is learning of the directives on the spot. So it takes at least a day to start moving things forward,” Pregent explained.
As for Law, by bringing her dad home, she says he gives up his spot in the system.
She says she was told he’ll be given priority to get a new spot when admissions to CHSLDs get going again.
Law is hoping that’s before she needs to return to work.
— With files from Global’s Dan SpectorView link »