A West Island woman says the treatment her husband is receiving at a public long-term care facility is “unacceptable,” and a staffing shortage is negatively impacting care.

The centre has been court-ordered to hire more employees, but in the meantime, some patients are left without basic care.

Six years ago, Richard Beckford – once a vibrant, boisterous man – suffered a heart attack. An ambulance took over 20 minutes to arrive, depriving his brain of oxygen and ultimately causing permanent damage.

Wife Patricia Beckford says his government-run facility isn’t giving him the care he needs.

“This is not human – this is inhumane, it isn’t right,” she said.

There are 125 patients at Ile Bizard’s Denis-Benjamin-Viger Centre. During the day, there are eight nurses on staff. At night, there are only three – leaving overnight nurses with 41 patients each.

Beckford says her husband is often left for hours sitting in his own excrement in his chair.

“I notice with his care they leave him up in his chair for 8-12 hours during the daytime – and during this time, he’s not changed,” she explained.

“He’s wearing urine and feces-soaked diapers,” she added.

Beckford has stepped up to make sure her husband’s needs are taken care of.

In March 2018, the nurses’ union took the CIUSS de l’Ouest de l’Ile de Montreal to court, demanding It hire more staff.

“Things like basic care and hygiene, and getting fed – those are just the basics,” said FIQ representative Cynthia Gehoda. “[There are] just not enough people on-site to do all of that.”

The CIUSS appealed, so the case will be back in court in March.

“The judge did rule in our favour, but the employer didn’t want to respect that, and decided to appeal the decision. We’re still here today, fighting,” Gehoda added.

In the meantime, the CIUSS was ordered to start hiring more nurses and orderlies, telling CTV News the application process is underway.

“It should be noted that, as with all of our province’s healthcare establishments, we are confronted with a labour shortage that has made this recruitment process more challenging,” a spokesperson said in a statement Saturday.

In the meantime, Beckford visits her husband every day to do her part in ensuring his comfort. She fears other patients don’t have family to check in on their condition.

“They’re human beings, but they’re treated worse than animals,” she said.