New report reveals medication mix-ups, lack of hygiene at Quebec care home

·2 min read
The regional health authority opened an investigation into the Résidence des Bâtisseurs de Matane after numerous complaints from families and residents.
The regional health authority opened an investigation into the Résidence des Bâtisseurs de Matane after numerous complaints from families and residents.

(Simon Turcotte/Radio-Canada - image credit)

A new report into the Résidence des Bâtisseurs de Matane private seniors' home has revealed a laundry list of issues from patient care and hygiene to failing to keep narcotics secure.

The report on the residence, home to autonomous and semi-autonomous clients, was produced by the regional health authority for the Lower St. Lawrence and made public at the request of Quebec Seniors' Minister Marguerite Blais.

The report detailed incidents of residents not being bathed frequently (in some cases less than once a week), residents being found to be wearing dirty clothing on multiple occasions and at least one instance where a resident was left soaked in urine.

There was a complaint from a family that alleged clothing was not washed upon direct request, but was instead hidden away, still dirty, in the back of a closet.

Another complaint, from several residents, alleged long wait times where they were left sitting on the toilet, in one case, for a period of two hours.

Medicine given to wrong resident

The report goes on to note that confidential patient files were left open in unlocked offices for anyone to see, and the key to medicine cabinets containing narcotics was accessible in an unlocked cupboard in the dining room.

Medication belonging to patients who had died months earlier was found in drawers. There were also instances where medicine was forgotten, improperly administered or given to the wrong patient.

Over a period of several months, investigators tested the response time when residents would call for assistance from their rooms. The report stated that in all, 78 per cent of calls surpassed the target four-minute response time and 19 per cent of calls never received an answer.

Complaints date back to 2019

Since 2019, the CISSS du Bas-Saint-Laurent has been following the Bâtisseurs seniors' home, developing multiple action plans to address issues brought to light by dozens of complaints.

Many of the issues highlighted date to before the pandemic, though staffing shortages caused by the spread of COVID-19 may have exacerbated issues. Last fall, nearly 80 people working and living in the 200-bed facility contracted the virus.

Gino Beaudoin, quality director for the CISSS, said in an interview that the situation has improved with staff from the health authority onsite to investigate and monitor.

"The major elements, lack of staff, delay answering room calls, medication errors, work overload, I can tell you that this has already been fixed to the satisfaction of the CISSS," said Beaudoin.

Beaudoin said the CISSS made it clear to owners in December that this lack of quality care won't be tolerated, and that "this was their last chance."

The owners refused an interview request to comment on the report.