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COVID-19. Two CRIUGM researchers publish a report gathering the words of the relatives of elderly people and their recommendations

A team of researchers, including two from the CRIUGM, Anne Bourbonnais, associate professor at the Faculty of Nursing of the Université de Montréal (UdeM), and Jacqueline Rousseau, full professor at the School of Rehabilitation of the Faculty of Medicine of the UdeM, has just published a report documenting the experience of family and friends of elderly persons living in residential and long-term care centers (CHSLD).

This one-year research project took place during the first wave of COVID-19, when nursing homes in Quebec were experiencing major difficulties. Its purpose was to gather the experience of relatives of elderly people living in nursing homes (public and private) and their recommendations for support actions to promote the health of the relatives and the elderly. The study highlights the importance of family members in maintaining the life and quality of life of the elderly, but also the great distress that the containment measures related to the pandemic have generated for family members and the elderly.

To carry out this work, 24 relatives were recruited and the data of interest were collected, among other things, by individual interview. After analysis, five main themes emerged: 1) forced separation that was difficult for the family member and the elderly person; 2) care that was considered inhumane, questionable or exceptionally appreciated; 3) inequalities in the centers’ communication practices; 4) numerous constraints related to visits, even after they had been authorized; and 5) society’s neglect of the CHSLD community.

Based on these findings, the relatives proposed 88 recommendations for actions to be taken or avoided in times of pandemic as in normal times. These recommendations, in Appendix D of the report, deal with relational, communication, organizational and societal aspects.

This report was sent to the Health and Welfare Commissioner, the Ministry of Health and Social Services as well as to organizations dedicated to seniors and their families.

Anne Bourbonnais
Canada Research Chair in Care of the Elderly
Research Chair in Nursing Care of the Elderly and the Family
514 343-6111, ext. 2734