Families of residents at the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte Saint-Luc are upping the pressure on health authorities to get a COVID-19 outbreak at the home under control.
About 20 relatives and supporters of residents at the home, a government-run long-term care home, or CHSLD, protested outside the facility in Côte Saint-Luc Thursday afternoon.
The event was organized by Members of The Maimonides Family Advocacy Group.
They continue to insist that personnel shortage and poor employee management are the main causes of the outbreak at the residence since the middle of the month, and that staff are overwhelmed.
“They definitely need the help,” said Morris Azouz who’s a caregiver to his mother who lives at Maimonides. “What we’ve been hearing that there’s enough staff is just not true.”
In a message sent to residents Thursday evening, obtained by Global News, Maimonides administration wrote that there “are currently 39 active cases of COVID infection among residents. Thirty-one residents are in the hot zone on the 7th floor, while eight residents are being treated in hospital.”
It goes on the say that 15 have recovered since the start of the second wave and eight residents have died.
In addition, it reads, “18 staff members from a cross section of departments are currently quarantining at home, as are seven caregivers.”
According to the memo, as of Dec. 14, “all registered caregivers (those who are paid, as well as family members) who wish to be granted entry to DBM must be tested for COVID-19 once every two weeks.”
Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, who attended the protest, said the number of infections over the last few days represents half the number of cases in his municipality. He added that if the outbreak isn’t brought under control, more people could die.
“I’m asking the provincial government to bring in the help that they need in order to get this under control,” he said. “There’s too much COVID at Maimonides right now and people are dying.”
The Centre-West Integrated University Health and Social Services Center (CIUSSS) that oversees the facility maintains that though there is a shortage of nurses, they are able to fill most of the gaps.
Furthermore, they told Global News Wednesday that they’ve hired 70 additional patient attendants since the summer, which is more than required. Officials said they have no plans to request the assistance of the Red Cross or any additional emergency help from the provincial government, something protesters and clients are asking for.
Susan Rakita, whose father lives at Maimonides, claim they’ve seen the evidence of the lack of staff.
“On nights, night shift, on weekends, we see the shortages,” she noted. “They are not working, they are not there.
“Unfortunately, residents don’t stop needing help on weekends or in the middle of the night, and we need help 24/7.”
Both the health board and administration at the residence deny claims by clients and their relatives that medical staff move between floors and care units, further risking the spread of infection.
On Thursday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said the home is on his radar.
“I asked (assistant deputy minister) Daniel Desharnais, who is responsible (for) all the PCE, the control of infection, to give me a very detailed report and that is what I’m waiting to get,” he told reporters.
Rakita said she is encouraged by that news and will now wait to see what happens next.
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