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COVID-19: coroner's inquest told of years of neglect at Quebec City-area seniors home

LEVIS — A coroner's inquest into long-term care deaths in Quebec during the pandemic's first wave resumed on Monday with the tabling of a report exposing years of neglect at a facility south of Quebec City.

The private long-term care home Manoir Liverpool was home to seniors who went up to three weeks without baths, didn't have enough food and lived in unsanitary conditions, according to a February 2021 report ordered by the regional health authority. The document described living conditions at the facility dating back to 2014.

Even before the pandemic, the residents' care plans were "absolutely incomplete" and failed to follow sanitary standards, the report said, adding that families of residents were left to clean urine on the floor to prevent their relatives from slipping and falling.

Coroner Gehane Kamel's mandate is to investigate the deaths at seven seniors residences and long-term care homes, which are known as CHSLDs in Quebec. In total, she is investigating 53 deaths at the seven facilities.

The vast majority of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Quebec have occurred in long-term care homes and private seniors residences. Coroner's inquests are not intended to assign blame, but to make recommendations to avoid similar occurrences.

At Manoir Liverpool, located in Levis, Que., some seniors were so badly cared for they had white crust inside their mouths and their bodies were left to fester with wounds and sometimes even fungus. 

The inquiry started at the end of March by looking into the Montreal-area CHSLD des Moulins in Terrebonne, Que., owned by senior care company Groupe Sante Arbec. The hearings revealed that staff shortages and employees moving from one facility to another were reasons behind the deaths. The facility was consumed with a COVID-19 outbreak for 76 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 12, 2021. 

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press