COVID-19: our NURSING homes are paralyzed by cumbersome bureaucratic

COVID-19: nos CHSLD sont paralysés par la lourdeur bureaucratique

Marie Christine Trottier

The pandemic highlights how our NURSING homes are crushed by the heaviness of the bureaucratic machine. Attempt to draw the portrait of the current crisis in NURSING homes illustrates the complexity of the network. The field can barely be heard, the public loses, and the government tries to present an overview of the situation, but the task is made so titanic that the errors are not uncommon.

Data errors

The portrait of the situation in residences for seniors and NURSING homes and published daily by Quebec is complex to analyze from one day to the other, since several errors may occur in the data :

  • Some residences also have a percentage of residents infected with the wrong function of the actual number of seats.
  • Residences have been entered and then have disappeared from the balance sheets in the following days.
  • Others were listed in duplicate on the same day.
  • Some places have changed color, from a code “orange” to “red” but the number of cases increases.

Missing Information

It misses several information to have an accurate picture of contamination at the COVID-19 in residences for seniors and NURSING homes. For example, in the list published daily by the government, it is not possible to know :

  • the number of deaths by residence
  • the number of people healed
  • the total number of seats
  • the number of tests carried out on the residents and the staff
  • the number of employees missing

Some CIUSSS or CISSS agree to disclose certain information, others do not.

Managers far removed from the field

The centralization of authority in the hands of ministers under the era of former liberal minister Gaétan Barrette has hurt a CHSLD, believes Paul Brunet, president of the Council of protection for the sick.

The users committees are struggling to make themselves heard both the managers are physically far away, especially in the regions.

“But we, we are on the ground,” he said. We know when it stinks in a CHSLD or when we eat poorly. It’s a carton of milk stuck on a hot plate in which the milk is warm and not drinkable, it is a light in [the] corridor that prevents a lady to sleep. There are hundreds of small things that make the difference between having the desire to live or die.”

“But it is not sexy. It is not in their report.”

Transparency lost

One of the activities that occupies the most time of Mr. Brunet at this time is to send reminders to institutions for the families who were refused to transmit the medical report of a deceased parent.

“Some are transparent, but others refuse to do so,” he said. There are families who are not able to know what is death of a loved one. The establishment knows this and does not want to say, either he does not know, and it is even more serious. People ask us for help, because they don’t even know if their mother is still alive.”

In the era Module, Mr. Brunet is also said to have witnessed a decline in transparency. A lot of information that would have enabled them to see that there are some gaps have not been made public.

Who needs to respond?

Last week, when we wanted to know how many employees the residence Eden were infected at COVID, the CISSS de Laval, we confirmed the figure of 4. Yet, the leaders of the residence had 10 employees infected. This discrepancy between the field and the official information is common in the time of a pandemic where everything is changing rapidly.

Sometimes, the ministry of Health does not collect precise data, and referred the journalists to the 9 CIUSSS and 13 CISSS. Some people respond, others do not. Some do collect the information the same way.

Thus, it becomes difficult, for example, to know what NURSING homes do not have enough protective equipment or how many patients the network has transferred in full pandemic.


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