Quebec long-term care homes grappling with major challenges: military report

A 60-page report from the military on the condition of Quebec’s long-term care homes released by the government on Wednesday points to three major challenges in the facilities: staffing shortages, management of personal protective equipment and how hot zones related to the novel coronavirus are handled.

Canadian Armed Forces teams were sent to lend a helping hand to the province’s facilities hardest hit by the pandemic following a request for help from Premier François Legault. Quebec leads the country in both its caseload and deaths attributable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

READ MORE: Military teams raise concerns about conditions at Ontario care homes

The findings come after the military released a report into five long-term care homes in Ontario, which alleged bleeding infections, residents crying for help for hours and failure to isolate residents who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The level of care provided was described as “horrible” in documents obtained by Global News.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Ontario report was “deeply disturbing.” Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called for an investigation into the allegations, which he described as “horrific.”

In Quebec, the province’s ombudsperson announced on Tuesday she is launching her own “impartial and independent” investigation into the government and health network’s handling of the health crisis in long-term care homes and seniors residences.

READ MORE: Quebec ombudsperson to investigate coronavirus crisis response in seniors residences

As the death toll continues to climb, Marie Rinfret said she has concerns over the measures implemented to protect seniors during the pandemic. Her report is due in fall 2021.

As of Sunday, more than 81 per cent of Quebec’s deaths related to COVID-19 had occurred at either long-term care homes or private seniors residences.

Quebec remains the epicentre of the virus’s outbreak in Canada. The province reported 70 additional deaths on Tuesday, bringing the total to 4,139, and it added 614 new cases for a total of 48,598.

6:14Military alleges abuse, neglect at five Ontario long-term care homes

Military alleges abuse, neglect at five Ontario long-term care homes

— With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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