Red Cross to hire help for Quebec’s long-term care homes; relatives say it’s badly needed

Red Cross launches recruiting drive in Quebec
WATCH: The Canadian Red cross has launched a recruiting drive. As Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, they are hoping to hire about 1,000 people that are willing to help out in the province's long-term care homes during the summer months.

When Annette Demeny was finally able to get into Vigi Mont-Royal on May 30 to visit her friend, she was disappointed to see that the care she was receiving was still not up to par.

“There’s old people who don’t have relatives that are in there and some of them sit alone in a room,” she said. “When I first got there, Titina’s teeth hadn’t been brushed in months.”

READ MORE: Quebec coroner orders public inquiry into coronavirus deaths at long-term care homes

To help out in the province’s long-term care centres amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Canadian Red Cross has launched a recruiting drive.

It’s looking to hire about 1,000 people for the summer to be part of what they call a humanitarian force.

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“In some instances, we might be directed to go into places where the army is leaving, but in many other circumstances, we’re expecting the Quebec government to point us and send us to places where the army was not, to cover other needs,” said Pascal Mathieu, Canadian Red Cross vice-president for Quebec.

READ MORE: Quebec long-term care homes grappling with major challenges, military report outlines

The Red Cross says those who are hired will provide basic care to residents. They will all be trained and given protective equipment.

“It’s actually simple tasks — helping with the meals, helping with hydration, bringing food from the kitchen to the different rooms, helping to clean up,” Mathieu said. “All under the supervision of the medical staff that is on site.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Nothing ‘off the table’ in solving long-term care crisis, Trudeau says

Karen Squires, whose mother lives at Vigi Dollard-des-Ormeaux and beat COVID-19, goes into the residence five days a week, sometimes more.

She says though there are staff onsite, the care her mother is receiving now isn’t what it was before. So the extra help is needed.

“The patients don’t get any love and care,” said Squires. “They don’t get time with them. They just feed them and go. No one sits down and really takes time with them, and that’s what they need.”

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Global News has reached out to the CIUSSS Centre-Sud and CIUSSS l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, the regional health authorities for those two areas, for a response. They did not provide comment.

For more information on the recruitment and how to apply, visit the Red Cross’s website.