90 residents have died at CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée in Laval

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At Laval’s Sainte-Dorothée, staff describe the last few weeks as hell on earth. Ninety residents there have died, according to the latest government update—the most of any Quebec long-term care home.

“We had a patient that didn’t die but was traumatized, because they left a dead body beside him for almost a day before they came and picked him up,” Sylvie Morin, assistant head nurse at the Sainte-Dorothée long-term care home, told CTV Montreal.

Advocates say these deaths happened for “no good reason” in some cases, noting that some provinces, Quebec included, didn’t move as quickly as they should have to protect vulnerable residents in care homes.

“We know that some of the important things that we need to do have not been done in Quebec, so we’re seeing a terrible loss in life,” Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge, Canada's national seniors' advocacy organization, told CTV News Channel Friday.

“But we’re also very frustrated because we’re not getting some of the supports for long-term care to save some of those lives.”

Watts says many long-term care homes lack the sanitation and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to curtail outbreaks, noting that changes in protocol need to take place immediately to protect the residents that remain in these homes.

“We’re losing mothers, fathers, grandparents every day,” she said.

“We don’t want to wait for an inquiry to do the things that we already know we need to do.”

Watts says long-term care providers need to move to provide vaccinations, such as high-dose flu vaccinations, to residents in order to prevent an “epidemic on top of a pandemic.” She notes that long-term care workers also need to be given better incentives to stay in the field, including access to proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and essential worker designation.

“Being deemed essential comes with responsibility too. We need to keep our workers safe,” she said. 

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