FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Improvised restructuring and its impact on seniors

Improvised restructuring and its impact on seniors

The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec – FIQ, together with the Syndicat des professionnelles en soins de Montérégie-Ouest (SPSMO), are speaking out against the adverse effects of the Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de la Montérégie-Ouest’s (CISSSMO) improvised restructuring of seniors’ care in residential long-term care centres (CHSLD). Consequently, the FIQ and the SPSMO are asking management to take concrete and immediate action to remedy the situation.

Since last fall, residential long-term care centres in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Suroît regions were forced to undergo major restructuring. This decision was made without considering how many human resources were necessary or available, thus jeopardizing the safety and quality of services offered to this highly vulnerable clientele. “Health care management was improvising, pure and simple, when they overhauled team structures with full knowledge of the labour shortage!” said Vanessa Léger, Étienne Deroy, Manon Deslauriers and Sylvain Frappier, spokespeople for the SPSMO. “We are clearly witnessing the dismantling of a health care structure that worked very well, all things considered, only to be left with an unacceptable situation and our seniors are the ones suffering the consequences,” they added.

The employer implemented a new work structure without measuring the impacts on the quality and safety of care. With our current labour shortage, it is more important than ever to guarantee stable resources and make full use of the available healthcare professionals. However, we are seeing the exact opposite. They are turning increasingly to an external workforce from private placement agencies while assigning our professionals duties that could be given to employees of other categories. It’s unbelievable!

The negative impact on CHSLD patients

Since restructuring began, CHSLD patients have been forced to take their medication two to four hours before the prescribed time. The restructuring puts our healthcare professionals in violation of their code of ethics as they are unable to follow the medical prescriptions. “Furthermore, our members were instructed to wake patients who have a family member to care for them first! This is completely unacceptable. It goes against the treatment plan put together by our professionals for the patients. Once again, patients who are alone and have few resources suffer the consequences!” said the SPSMO spokespeople.

“Did the Ministry of Health’s vision of best practices in long-term care centres get thrown out the window?” Need we remind them that a budget was granted for new resources in long-term care centres? Well, we already make poor use of available resources here when it comes to providing adequate care to seniors in care centres. Instead of allocating these resources to patient care, we ask our professionals to take on roles they weren’t meant to fill. It is completely unacceptable that our healthcare professionals are unable to fully exercise their scope of practice,” said FIQ Vice-President Daniel Gilbert. “If licensed practical nurses were assigned to their rightful duties, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Patients would get their medication at the times prescribed by their doctors, they would get up and go to sleep at the right time, and so on. They’d be receiving the care they need from healthcare professionals who were trained to provide it,” explained Mr. Gilbert.

Management needs to fulfil their duties and immediately fix the unsafe work structure they have implemented in the CHSLDs. “We are appealing to the director of health care who is directly responsible as per the Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services. The FIQ and the SPSMO will no longer tolerate their healthcare professionals being deprived of the conditions required to fulfil their roles and provide safe care to seniors under their supervision. The CISSSMO must be part of the effort to implement best practices in care provided to seniors in the region. We will make sure of it as an organization,” concluded the FIQ Vice-President.

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