There is growing talk of a possible inquiry into senior citizens’ shelters in response to the multiple failures that occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. But what exactly will we be talking about? Of a commission whose report is already doomed to the dusty tablets of history or whose report is already “written” in the heads of our leaders? A “complacent” commission, made up of people dedicated to the fundamental continuity of the current system? Or do we really want to change things and organize quality care for older people who need home or institutional services?
I have followed all the reforms of the health network for more than forty years and I have seen commissions sometimes propose aberrations as well as good ideas. I have especially seen proposals shamelessly advocating the privatization of services, or their supposed socialization towards underfunded organizations, community or not. In fact, many people who promoted these ideas come back today to publicize their ideas, claiming that, if we had really listened to them, there would have been fewer problems during this crisis. With if …
Since I will certainly not be approached to be part of this commission, I would like to make a few suggestions. First, we must reject the idea of excluding a priori people associated with pressure groups. I am thinking, for example, of the Council for the Protection of the Sick or of trade union organizations representing all the job titles in hospitals, accommodation centers and at home. And yes, I preach for my parish, but the CSN represents all these workers since the 1960s! We must also seriously consider inviting a doctor who works at home and in CHSLDs; the former association of doctors at CLSC could probably suggest very interesting names.
It is also necessary to integrate a few people who are familiar with the intricacies of the network: either former “functional” senior civil servants, or general directors of CHSLD in service or retired, having demonstrated capacities for innovation or rapid and effective reaction. during the pandemic. Finally, high-level university researchers in this field must be added to these people; either “university thinkers” such as Damien Contandriopoulos for example, or “field researchers”, often geriatric doctors and university professors.
For years, we have known that the best system for maintaining and caring for the home, as well as in an institution, must be a public service offered without economic discrimination. It must also be organized in the community and put in place detection and prevention mechanisms, as well as maintenance and care services provided by well-trained, well-paid staff working in multidisciplinary teams. And as we have seen this winter, flexible organizations are needed, capable of quickly developing an intelligent and orderly response to an apprehended but unpredictable crisis. Without all of this, a change will only be cosmetic.