Couples reunited as civilians move into Veterans' hospital
Published Thursday, October 6, 2016 7:46PM EDT
The changes to the Veterans' Hospital in Ste. Anne de Bellevue mean couples are being reunited after time apart.
The hospital changed hands, switching from federal to provincial jurisdiction on April 1, and with it came the move of civilian long-term care patients.
More than two dozen patients moved into the home in the first two months and the number of civilian patients has only grown since then.
Among the newcomers is Jeanne D'Arc Desbiens, finally reunited with her husband of 43 years, Rosaire Gaston-Ouellette.
They've lived apart for the past six years, he at the Veterans', she at Grace Dart in east end Montreal.
Now they are together again.
"She's a woman of character," said Gaston-Ouellette. "And now I can keep an eye on her."
The Health Board is closing a building at Grace Dart, and so in the past week moved 80 residents across the island.
"The move went relatively smoothly. We had been planning for many, many months for this important move," said Patrick Murphy-Lavallée.
"I believe the residents and staff are adjusting slowly," he added, saying the hospital is still hiring and training staff.
"We're still working right now on improving the continuity of care and the stability of the teams," said Murphy-Lavallée.
The move is how Gaston-Ouellette and Desbiens were reunited, and they couldn't be happier.
"I've been waiting a long time for this," she said.
At 91 they are both grateful they can spend the rest of their lives together.