Caregivers can return to long-term care centres

Record Staff

The Quebec Caregivers Network (le Regroupement des Aidants Naturels du Québec or RANQ) welcomes the government’s announcement that all long-term care facilities will be required to allow caregivers to enter to support their loved ones as of May 11. The last few weeks demonstrate what caregiver organizations such as RANQ have been saying for many years: caregivers provide essential services and care to the most vulnerable, but above all, they provide psychological support that is essential to the quality life and wellbeing of their loved ones.

“Without the presence of their caregiver, some seniors refused to eat. Others with an autism spectrum disorder or an intellectual disability had multiplied anxiety behaviours,” explained Mélanie Perroux, Strategic Development Coordinator for RANQ. “The situation demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the role of a family caregiver in a facility. The affection of family caregivers was underestimated because of the risk of contamination, whereas it is even more important in times of anxiety and uncertainty. And for caregivers, acting to support their confined loved one, or being present during their last moments if this is the case, will considerably reduce the distress they have been experiencing for the past eight weeks and help them grieve,” Perroux added.

Only family caregivers who provided significant help before the pandemic can return to an institution. However, RANQ hopes that they can be replaced by a family member if they themselves are at risk and that all caregivers will be provided with individual protection (gloves, masks, etc.). A clear definition of what a significant caregiver is will have to be disseminated to avoid confusion in the field and allow everyone to get organized.
Psycho-social support to support caregivers
“ In facilities that have had many cases of COVID-19, caregivers should expect to witness difficult situations,” commented Josée Côté, General Coordinator for RANQ.
“We want to remind them that there are community organizations with trained workers to provide psychosocial and bereavement support. It is important not to remain alone and to be accompanied during this extraordinary period so as not to become exhausted or experience too much distress,” Côté said.

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