One of the canadian soldiers who came in reinforcement to the CHSLD Vigi Mount Royal in Montreal, Tuesday
May 27, 2020 13h39
Updated at 18h41
The soldiers have experienced things “exceptionally difficult” in NURSING homes
The Canadian Press
The mission of the canadian army in the CHSLD du Québec has not been a part of the fun.
The shortage of staff in the accommodation centres, and long-term care (CHSLD), in full pandemic COVID-19, has complicated the task of soldiers who had come to lend a hand to the nursing staff.
The report of 60 pages prepared by the canadian armed Forces and made public Wednesday, gives an account of the enormous difficulties encountered on the ground by the soldiers, transformed for a time by orderlies in 25 CHSLD contaminated with the virus, and out of control on the management plan.
Since 20 April, many soldiers “have been witnesses to and (have) lived situations exceptionally difficult in NURSING homes,” notes the colonel T. M. Arsenault, in the introduction to the report, handed over to the government Legault Tuesday.
Such a level of stress and difficulty, can only leave traces. The colonel added that the army will, after the fact, to sort of “promote the maintenance of good mental health”of the force.
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The report draws a conclusion very factual situations observed by the military and the tasks performed in each of the institutions where they have worked, in the region of Montreal. It does not, however, give details of situations, particularly problems that have been experienced during this mission.
It follows a series of breaches, such as the shortage of staff, particularly with respect to the orderlies and nurses at night, high absenteeism, a lack of staff with medical training, a lack of medical equipment, a lack of doctors on duty to record the death, not to mention a laxity in the application of protection protocols.
It is concluded that the lack of medical equipment and the serious lack of staff are likely to have had an impact on the quality of care provided to patients, including care of basic hygiene.
In some institutions, it was also observed conflicts between employees. “These conflicts were focused on the number of hours of work, the management of the institution, the attendance of the employees and the significant lack of nurses. A coordinator has threatened to stop work if additional nurses were not hired.”
In some places, the lack of attendance of the staff seems to have been a continuing source of friction: “many arrived late for their shift and be absent from school for long periods of time” of up to two hours.
The military operation in Quebec, which is still in progress, a necessity in this day the contribution of 1350 members of the armed Forces, 1050 soldiers deployed in 25 NURSING homes.
The government Legault wants to extend the mission until mid-September, but the minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, said in an interview with the CBC that it was not possible to ensure that the military are still working for almost four months, seven days a week, 12 hours per day.
The report’s authors note that the presence of the military has resulted in the “free medical resources to provide direct care to patients”. The army has thus helped to stabilize the situation.
The soldiers had to perform various tasks, depending on the needs, such as care-giving, hygiene, feed patients, perform housekeeping, ensure the disinfection of the premises.
One of the NURSING homes are hardest hit by the pandemic is the Vigi Mont-Royal, where all the patients have caught the virus.
It is also one of the institutions where the soldiers have had a hard time.
“We are also witnesses daily to employees not complying with the protocols put in place by the establishment”, in terms of equipment protection, one can read in the report.
“We have noticed that the instructions are not followed by some employees, despite the constant reminders made by our military,” says the report.
It is one of the CHSLD where the supply seems to have been a problem. In particular, “a delivery of narcotics seems to have disappeared and the supply within units of care is difficult. A lack of medical equipment is often noted during shift changes and the military have had to intervene on several occasions to offer solutions in order to allow staff to perform their work in a safe manner”.
In total, the leadership of the armed Forces considers that the presence of the soldiers has definitely improved the quality of life of a large number of people and helped to restore the dignity of persons in end-of-life”.