An investigation into two long-term care homes run by the same company, which has contracts with several regional health boards, has found there has been abuse "in all its forms," severe understaffing, management issues and a lack of contingency planning.
More than half of the nearly 240 beds in each of the Floralies care homes — one of which is in Lachine and the other in LaSalle — are under contract by various health boards.
The report comes two years and several public inquiries after crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic caused a rash of deaths in Quebec's private and public long-term care homes — and suggests there is still work to do to improve the living situations of their residents.
The two homes were put under trusteeship by the Health Ministry in September.
Michel Delamarre, who recently retired from his position as CEO for the Quebec City regional health board, conducted the report. He also found that the health boards overseeing the Floralies homes had failed to take action soon enough.
Quebec's minister responsible for seniors, Sonia Bélanger, said she had commissioned a team to implement Delamarre's 21 recommendations.
"Beyond the shortcomings of the owners of Floralies, there was a lack of co-ordination by the health network," Bélanger said.
The minister said a management team hired by the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, the West Island regional health board, was put in place as of Sept. 1 for 180 days, and that she will not hesitate to extend its mandate, if needed.
That same CIUSSS was the health board that put the now infamous CHSLD Herron in Dorval under trusteeship during the pandemic's first wave — and was later admonished by Coroner Géhane Kamel for its poor handling of the situation.
Bélanger also said her ministry would be drafting a clear set of responsibilities the health network must have in relation to privately run institutions.
Since Quebec amended its laws concerning private long-term care homes in April, making it easier to put them under trusteeship, Bélanger said five facilities have been put under trusteeship, incuding the two Floralies.
"As minister and as a citizen, I was shaken to see what took place [there]," she said at a Montreal news conference Thursday.
The issues Delamarre listed in his report include abuse and violence from staff toward patients, negligence, both from staff and as a result of Floralies's insitutional mismanagement, as well as poor scheduling practices, and a lack of governance accountability. There is no board of governors overseeing practices at the homes, for example.
When Delamarre began his investigation in August, an outbreak of streptococcus A had already been spreading in one of the homes since April — but Floralies had only that month advised the Health Ministry, which he called "unusual."
By the time he finished his report in October, Delamarre said six patients had died and the outbreak was still ongoing. It's unclear if, now a month later, that remains the case.