Stricter rules ahead for private seniors’ homes
New stricter rules for private seniors' homes are on the way.
The Quebec government announced Wednesday it wants better-trained staff in more than 2,000 private residences, where more than 100,000 elderly people live.
It wants to pass new regulations to make sure every private seniors’ home follows the same rules, including rules on bathwater temperature controls – a move that comes after at least ten Quebec seniors have died after being scalded by bath water in recent years.
The government also wants tougher standards for sprinkler systems, more training for staff and two new categories of residents – autonomous and semi-autonomous – with new procedures for both.
Residences that don't comply will face consequences, said Health and Seniors Minister Réjean Hebert.
“If some of these residences are not conforming to those rules, they will shut down,” he said. “I think it's for the benefit of the elderly people who will find security and well-being in other places.”
The government will provide $6.5 million to train staff if they don't already know CPR and to certify them in other areas of care, all necessary for seniors’ homes to earn and maintain their licences.
“This responds to a lot of our demands, and we're very pleased,” said Judith Gagnon from the Association for the Defence of Retired Persons.
Some seniors’ homes, however, said the new standards will be hard to meet. As many as 500 homes are already in a budget crunch – and may be forced to close.
“It's going to be tough and they don't know what they’re going to do to stay alive,” said Yves Desjardins of the Quebec Coalition of Seniors’ Homes.
Jocelyn Cloutier, owner of Quebec City seniors’ residence Les Jardins Lebourgneuf, said he'll have to spend $250,000 to upgrade the plumbing alone.
If the hot water gauge is defective, he'll have to change it, which he said is fine, but the government is making him change all the gauges – even the good ones – within a year.
The new rules take effect in two weeks.
Seniors homes have until June 2014 to upgrade their facilities.