Today and tomorrow, we are participating in the Forum sur les meilleures pratiques en CHSLD (Forum on Best Practices in a CHSLD). The objective of this meeting that we were invited to by Minister Gaétan Barrette is, according to him “to identify the best clinical and organizational practices and to concretely support their implementation”. I sincerely hope that this meeting will produce concrete results and that things change in a sustainable manner in the CHSLDs.
Unfortunately, I won’t hide from you my fears that this operation only aims to polish the government’s image and that it is disguising its lack of compassion for the CHSLD users. Already in June 2016, a parliamentary commission of 32 MNAs from all the parties presented a report that contained some very interesting proposals, including the implementation of healthcare professional-to-patient ratios. During the negotiations earlier this year, we convinced the government to set up healthcare professional-to-patient pilot projects in a few CHSLDs. Since then, nothing has been put in place and the report of the parliamentary commission seems to have been shelved. So, you can easily understand my concern that, with this Forum, the government is only once again looking to gain time.
For our part, we have done our homework. We have gone and seen what is being done elsewhere in the world. We even organized an International Symposium on the subject on October 26. We know that a good number of problems in CHSLDs, among other places, could be resolved with the implementation of the ratios. For example, in Australia, a law has established that the healthcare professional-to-patient ratios in CHSLDs should be 1 professional for 7 patients on days, for 8 patients on evenings and for 15 patients on nights. We are a long way from that type of quality care in Québec.
The caregiving personnel do very good work. I would even say that they are working miracles in the current context, but that is not enough. The lack of resources and the excessive workload have become the daily lot of the healthcare professionals and the beneficiary attendants. And I find it disgraceful that in 2016 we treat our elderly in such a way. Over time, the CHSLDs have become care settings. These living environments, which are the last homes for people who are in residential housing, must also be settings where we treat our elderly with dignity.