MONTREAL -- Despite promises from the provincial government, caregivers and families of people in long-term care homes are having a hard time ensuring their loved ones are receiving proper care.

Mary Napoli said mother Caterina, a resident of the CHSLD Cartierville, has had a long life that's seen her survive many hardships.

“Famine, depression, recession, just about everything you can think of,” she said.

Until the lockdown began in March, Napoli and her brother served as caregivers to Caterina, who suffers from dementia.

Over a week ago, Premier Francois Legault and health officials said caregivers would be allowed back into the province's CHSLDs but Napoli said she home has yet to permit her back inside.

“We'll put the masks, we'll put the gloves, we'll put the gowns. We want to help,” she said.

Randal Dagenais said he hasn't been allowed into the Town of Mount-Royal home where his 85-year-old mother lives, despite being certified as an orderly.

“The elderly need our help, so I got certified and I'm doing that for another CIUSSS. But unfortunately here I can't get access because my intention here is to help my mother,” he said.

On Friday, Legault called for volunteers to helps at CHSLDs, even without qualifications but patients' rights advocate Paul Brunet said the province should be reaching out to families first.

“As long as these people will be treated like enemies that you shouldn't let it, of course you'll continue asking for volunteers who don't know anything,” he said. “Strangers, even military with all the good intentions, they don't know the resident as much as the family knows them. I don't understand.”

In an email, the regional health authority in charge of CSHLD Cartierville said they are in the process of setting up a procedure for caregivers that would soon be deployed. But Napoli said the COVID-19 epidemic requires more urgency.

“I don't want my mom to be a statistic just like all the others who unfortunately lost their lives to COVID and abandonment. That's what's happening here,” she said.