Confusion at Grace Dart about how employees can protect themselves
MONTREAL -- There is confusion at the Grace Dart Extended Care Centre about how employees can protect best themselves after a care worker and resident died recently from COVID-19.
Victoria Salvan worked at Grace Dart for more than 25 years, and developed a fever a little more than a week ago.
She passed away at home Friday and some of her colleagues blame lack of protective equipment at the residence for her death.
“If she had a mask, gloves and a jacket, it could have saved her life,” said a friend.
The union that represents her, however, said it’s not so black-and-white. The union says there is enough protective equipment, and staff that needs extra protective equipment can ask.
The union said, however, that communication has been lacking.
“Sometimes our members don’t know that because the information is not going down as fast as we would wish,” said Alexandre Pregent of CUPE.
The facility began testing all 250 employees, and the latest numbers show 62 people are infected with the virus.
The regional health authority (CIUSSS) says it is regularly assessing staff needs.
"We understand the concern of employees regarding their protection in the workplace," said spokesperson Guillaume Berube. "IUHSSC ensures that Grace Dart has all the necessary equipment (gown, gloves, visors and masks) to provide safe care to residents and protect its employees. MSSS and DSP instructions in this regard are respected."
Pregent said that many managers are sick, and information is not flowing as freely as it should be to those working on the ground.
“We are short-staffed in every position including managers,” he said.
As a result, many staff members are not changing their protective equipment as frequently as they should.
“They know how to get them off, but with double shifts, overtime, and being as tired as that, you get careless,” said Pregent.
The situation has become very stressful for those working in seniors’ homes across the province.
“I’m going to be very honest. If every one of my members could have hazmat suits, I would be more than happy,” said Pregent.
Despite the risk and fatigue, most workers keep coming to work.
“Helping people is greater than the fear of not going in so, no, I’m not nervous at all,” said Grace Dart employee Regina Vanriel.
Some staff members, however, admit that they are nervously awaiting results to see if they tested positive for COVID-19.