'Dereliction of duty': Quebec report slams disorganization and understaffing in long-term care COVID-19 response

Quebec report makes five key recommendations after finding the response to COVID-19 in Quebec long-term care homes has been disorganized, understaffed and failed to ensure required personal protective equipment.

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — An ombudswoman’s report has found that Quebec’s long-term care system failed in its duty to ensure the safety and dignity of residents during the first wave of COVID-19.

The report by Marie Rinfret released today depicts a system that, despite the dedication of health-care workers, was disorganized, unprepared and exhausted during the spring surge in cases.

It found that in many cases the homes lacked personal protective equipment, staff were made to move between hot and cold zones due to understaffing and some residences were unable to provide basic care and services, such as hygiene and feeding.

The report found that many homes were unable to ensure residents’ dignity was respected, including their need to receive personal care and keep in touch with loved ones and caregivers.

The report is based on the testimonies of over 1,350 people including residents, family members and staff in the long-term care homes, known in Quebec as CHSLDs.

Its five main recommendations are focusing services on residents' needs, ensuring a stable workforce, more rigorous infection control, better communication channels and naming managers who can exercise strong local leadership.

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