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Montreal long-term care home under investigation following complaints

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An investigation is underway at the Vigi Reine-Elizabeth seniors’ home due to complaints filed by family members of residents about conditions there.

Some people with relatives in residence, like Mary Dunlop, have even installed cameras to monitor their loved ones.

“She has been put in situations of danger more than once,” said Dunlop of her 88-year-old mother Olga Anastassiadis.

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According to the province’s ministry of health, the inquiry is into the management of care and services at the private subsidized home.

For months families have been complaining about how their loved ones are being treated.

“Shortage of staff, patients weren’t being fed, patients were dehydrated, medical care was almost absent, and some serious issues,” Liberal MNA Kathleen Weil told Global News. The home is in her riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

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Weil said inspectors were sent in on several occasions last fall but, according to her, things didn’t improve and families kept complaining, hence the investigation now.

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Dunlop and other families say they are fed up.

“It is not appropriate for somebody like my mother who is completely nonautonomous,” she pointed out.  “She needs help with everything including drinking a glass of water.”

Since the pandemic began, private seniors’ residences have come under scrutiny after they were hard hit by infections. Many had numerous deaths, like the former Heron residence in Dorval in Montreal, where 47 people died.

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Paul Brunet, president and CEO of the Conseil Pour La Protection Des Malades, an organization that advocates for patients’ rights, points out that the problems which persist in some seniors’ homes existed even before the pandemic.

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“There is a problem of mistreatment, lack of personnel, lack of competence, lack of organization, lack of preparedness,” he stressed.

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Jean Hébert, president and CEO of Vigi Santé which operates the publicly subsidized private residence, told Global News in a statement “we have undertaken to meet with all the families in order to validate their level of satisfaction and to identify with them the improvements that we could make to the quality and safety of our care and services.”

He also promised to implement any recommendations which might come from the investigation.

Both Vigi Santé and the ministry of health refuse to comment further until the inquiry is over.

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