National Assembly petition aims to rework Quebec’s long-term care spending

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
National Assembly petition aims to rework Quebec’s long-term care spending

Jacques Malouin needed a way to keep busy during the pandemic, but rather than follow popular trends like baking bread, he decided to tackle the problematic long-term care situation.
Malouin, a retired professor from the Université de Sherbrooke, created a petition that is currently open on the National Assembly website. The petition demands more funding for home care services, which he said is seriously lacking in the province.
According to Malouin, Quebec’s population of elderly folk living in long-term care (LTC) facilities nearly doubles the rest of Canada. Home care services receive roughly 19 per cent of the province’s LTC budget, he continued, and it needs to be higher.
“It’s with this information that brought me to propose increasing the budget for home care because by doing this we give people more options when it comes to deciding where they want to live as they grow older,” said Malouin.
The 80-year-old former professor has been monitoring the seniors’ homes situation for several months. He said that with many seniors living through turbulent times since the outbreak of COVID-19, it was time for someone to take action.
While he maintains an active lifestyle, playing tennis and skiing in the winter, not a lot of people his age can say the same thing, Malouin told The Record. However, not all seniors want to live in a long-term care facility, he added, they can still be autonomous.
Malouin said his goal isn’t to eliminate long-term care facilities, but rather he wants to provide more options for seniors heading into that phase of their life. The petition is already gaining traction online, and he expects to see more support in the weeks to come.
“It’s been about 10 days since launching the petition and we’re getting about 100 signatures a day, we’re close to 1,300 but we have more people to contact and I think we’ll continue at this pace for a while,” said Malouin.
But while he is spearheading the petition, Malouin also received support from Sherbrooke MNA Christine Labrie. She agreed to sponsor the citizen-made petition before it is tabled in the National Assembly next January.
In a phone interview, Labrie said she hopes to create a paradigm shift in the way the Quebec government views long-term care. According to the MNA, many seniors have already expressed a desire for home care, but it takes too much time to acquire the proper services.
“There’s a really high demand, the waiting list is extremely long and when people receive the services they only get a few hours of care every week and it’s often less than that,” said Labrie.
The pandemic exposed many problems with Quebec’s long-term care support. Seniors are more vulnerable in these spaces, she said, and the government needs to focus its attention on what seniors crave right now.
She said that seniors have been fighting for more home care services long before the pandemic reached Quebec. But it doesn’t mean that people want places like CHSLDs to disappear, she added, they just want the ability to choose where they live in old age.
“The idea isn’t to close CHSLDs, it’ll always be there to help people, but the majority of elderly people want to live at home, in their community, close to their family, friends and neighbours,” Labrie said.
People can support and sign the petition by visiting https://www.assnat.qc.ca/fr/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-8599/index.html.

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