Military deployed to care homes in Quebec to help curb spread of COVID-19
MONTREAL -- Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are now working in Quebec’s long-term care facilities where the COVID-19 infection rate in homes is hovering around 75 per cent.
Military personnel were in Laval, Que Monday bringing medical supplies and much needed help at the Villa Val des Arbres long-term care home.
“They’re much older, much more fragile than younger people, so we have to use a lot more care,” said Corporal Mathieu Bergeron, a medical technician in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Nurses and support staff have been deployed along with the technicians from Val Cartier, and inside the facility, the only uniform they’ll be wearing is scrubs.
The Armed Services staff will help with everyday tasks such as feeding, changing and moving residents.
Lieutenant-Commander Heather Galbraith is a family physician and said working in seniors’ homes is generally fast-paced, but with COVID-19, it’s a very different reality.
“You add, pardon my language, a pesky bug that we just are learning day-to-day more and more about, you’re in a different realm,” she said.
Like many care homes in Quebec, Villa Val des Arbres is struggling with staff shortages, and containing the virus. Fifty-nine per cent of the residents have tested positive.
Nathalie Veilleux can only visit her father Guy through a window. He has dementia and his daughter learned on Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19.
“We heard that beds weren’t being changed,” she said. “We don’t know what the real conditions are inside.”
Nearly 90 military personnel have been deployed in the Montreal area, and more may be coming.
It is an unusual situation for them, but they are up for the challenge.
“We’re mostly proud to be here,” said Bergeron. “We’re going to be helping our own population in Quebec. We live here. They’re our people and we’re here to help.”