Vets concerned about state of care at Ste. Anne's Hospital
For some Canadian veterans, Friday served as just another day that reminds them that all is not well at the Ste-Anne’s Hospital in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.
Once managed by Ottawa, Quebec took over control in April.
World War II Lt. Wolf Solkin, who moved there three and a half year ago, said he immediately noticed the difference.
“We don't have enough staff. We don't have well-trained and competent staff, we don't have stable staff, a constant rotating staff, we see new faces every day, every shift, almost,” said Solkin, 93, who requires constant care.
The former infantry officer said he used to love the hospital.
“On a scale to ten, it was a good nine and a half,” he said, adding that the quality of food and the level of personal hygiene care has diminished.
The average age of patients there is 95.
“They like a certain consistency, a certain stability,” he said.
As much as 42 per cent of the staff either left or retired after the veterans’ hospital changed hands. Many chose to leave because the provincial pay scale is lower.
Those who stayed can't keep up with the work, said union vice-president Catherine Giguere.
“We cannot give the care that we used to before. We don't have time to spend, time to talk to patients as we used to before,” she said.
The hospital administration and the province admit the transition isn't easy.
“We had to hire at least 400 staff members to replace the staff that knew the veterans very, very well, so it has been an important challenge to hire 400 people,” said Patrick Murphy-Lavallee, director of support for elderly autonomy program.
“Within that transition period, there might be some adjustments to be made, and they will be,” said Health Minister Gaetan Barrette.
Solkin said he is worried and feels the current state of care is unacceptable for veterans who gave so much for their country.
“Lest we forget. The problem is they always say that once a year. The rest of the year, they do forget,” he said.