Over the last few weeks, the situation at Denis-Benjamin-Viger in Île-Bizard has gone from bad to worse.
Around 40 per cent of the residents have contracted COVID-19 and so have about one-third of the staff.
“It’s scary,” said Kristina Hoare, a licensed practical nurse. “You don’t know what you’re walking into. You don’t know are you going to be here for eight hours.
“Are you going to be here for 12? Are you going to be here for 16? Are you going to have help? Are you going to be by yourself?”
The regional health authority says there are currently 108 residents living in the facility, 44 of whom have COVID-19. Fourteen have died since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are also 44 employees who have contracted the virus.
Health-care workers at the facility and the union representing them blame the increase on understaffing.
“We denounced it to the employer almost every day,” said Elizabeth Rich, spokesperson for the Quebec Nurses’ Union.
“We’re talking about two or one orderlies per floor for about 34 patients.”
When there’s such a shortage of personnel, staff say it affects the residents.
“They don’t get their pills on time, certain tasks get pushed to another shift or another day,” said Hoare.
The long-term care home is currently being supported by the army, and though staff say they’ve been extremely helpful, they’re still short nurses.
The union fears those working will soon burn out.,
“We’re talking about all professionals in health care right now. They’re holding the fort, but I don’t know how much they can hold the fort longer,” said Rich.
In an email to Global News, the local health authority says they’re aware of the personnel issues at the facility and have been in discussions with the ministry of health and social services to find solutions.
“The IUHSSC (Integrated University Health and Social Services Centres) regularly assesses staff needs,” the health authority said.
“Since the beginning of the health crisis, we have been in discussion with the MSSS to find solutions, in particular by calling upon a team from the Canadian Armed Forces.”View link »