At the coroner’s hearings on the CHSLD Herron, a nurse who worked there as director of care before COVID-19 reported a lack of personnel and equipment that prevailed there before the pandemic.
Véronique Bossé, nurse at the CHUM, worked as director of care at the Herron residence from September 2019 to January 2020, so before COVID-19.
On Monday, in front of coroner Géhane Kamel, she reported that when she arrived at the CHSLD Herron, there were five washcloths for 15 residents and three shots for 140 users.
And at the time, there was already a shortage of medical staff, she said. “The staff-to-resident ratio was not adequate. Staff turnover was incredible. It was underpaid for the tasks they had to do, ”she said.
What’s more, the staff was unilingual Anglophone, while many of the elderly residents were Francophones, she lamented.
The nurse attributed this understaffing to salaries. She mentioned a salary of $ 12 an hour for patient attendants at the time, in 2019.
When she told Herron’s management that more staff had to be hired, that the staff in place were overwhelmed, she was told “it costs so much.”
In front of the coroner, she questioned herself aloud about the search for profit in private residences. “Why did it have to be as profitable as that, to the detriment of the quality and the care we give to the elderly?” She said.
In fact, the union that represents thousands of beneficiary attendants in Quebec, the Quebec Union of Service Employees, affiliated with the FTQ, even went on strike in several establishments at the time, demanding $ 15 an hour. .
A contract of employment was also signed in Herron, around the arrival of Mrs. Bossé, granting them approximately $ 14 an hour. There was a strike in 2019, so before COVID-19. But even on strike, employees had to work 90% of their working hours, given the provisions on essential services. In fact, they could only disengage for a few minutes, she confirmed.
His mother in Herron
Ms. Bossé’s testimony is all the more interesting since her own mother lived in Herron, suffering from Alzheimer’s. And her mother died during the first wave of COVID-19.
Again, she pointed out that her mother had to be hospitalized for dehydration, even before COVID-19.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the nurse had already left her position at Herron for the CHUM. When she heard from her mother, around March 28, she was told not to worry, that there was no case on her mother’s floor.
Yet around April 3, she was told her mother had COVID-19, despite not even being tested. Staff had assumed she had it, since doctors were instructed not to enter the rooms, she reported.
Ms. Bossé then requested an infusion for her mother, as part of end-of-life care.
The next morning, she called a nurse in Herron to inquire about her mother’s condition. This nurse didn’t even know who she was talking about. “No, I take care of important cases,” she replied. “Then she hung up on me,” said Ms. Bossé, in tears.
On April 7, her mother passed away. “In my head, she died of thirst, of hunger. Also, his oxygen tank was empty. “She ran out of oxygen,” she concludes.