Laval long-term care home plagued by staffing shortages during 1st COVID-19 wave, employee says

An occupational therapist told a Quebec coroner’s inquest Monday some residents of a Montreal-area long-term care home likely died of dehydration during the first wave of COVID-19 in the province.

The therapist, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, is testifying during hearings into the deaths at a long-term care facility in Montreal’s northern suburb of Laval.

A total of 102 residents of CHSLD Sainte-Dorothée died in the first wave last year, and in April 2020, about two-thirds of the facility’s employees were off sick.

READ MORE: COVID-19 ward in Quebec long-term care home lacked equipment, water: nurse

The therapist says staff shortages prevented employees from properly caring for seniors and other vulnerable people living in the home, and many residents were barely hydrated and had eaten little before they died.

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The witness says she volunteered to help at the long-term care home and received no training, adding that she had witnessed a director break down screaming and crying in front of staff members.

Coroner Géhane Kamel’s mandate is to investigate the deaths of people at seven seniors residences and long-term care homes in the province that accounted for half of the deaths in the province during the first wave of the pandemic.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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