Armed with a room camera at a CHSLD, distrust grew

Montreal Gazette, Katelyn Thomas

The decision to take a loved one to a long-term care home is not one made lightly by Québec families, who often see it as a last resort. The promises made in these institutions, both public and private, are abundant: access to around-the-clock care, assistance with everyday life – in some cases tailored to residents’ individual needs. But over the years in Québec, stories contradicting those promises – sometimes significantly, sometimes in less overt ways – have emerged, and intensified under the strain of the pandemic. Many who advocate for better care feel it’s a tightrope they walk, balancing criticism with the fear of reprisals – always worrying that pushback could make things worse. That was the case for John St. Godard. His husband, Marcel Côté, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012 at age 70. It stripped him of his autonomy and forced St. Godard to make the difficult decision, in 2017, to move him to an assisted-living centre and then into long-term care. It was heartbreaking for St. Godard, who would visit Cote almost every day until his death last month.

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