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COVID-19: Families of loved ones at Maimonides sound alarm over alleged neglect

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Those with loved ones at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Côte Saint-Luc are outraged, alleging that neglect is putting some residents at serious risk.

Brothers Marc and Patrick Azoulay believe the alleged neglect might even have cost them the life of one parent, Edmund Azoulay, and they fear they could lose a second.

“There’s a lack of communication, there’s a lack of integrity, there’s a lack of transparency,” Marc told Global News.

He and Patrick are worried for their mother, 86 year-old Yvonne Bensoussan, who lives at the residence.  According to the siblings, they raised hell a week ago after their mother became ill.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak at Maimonides prompts concerns over staffing, safety

The brothers claim Bensoussan underwent tests and when the family didn’t get any answers, they used back channels to find out she has a urinary tract infection. They became concerned and felt they needed to push staff to treat their mother, expressing their concern to a doctor at the residence.

“The doctor says, ‘Did you lose faith in Maimonides?'” Marc said, “and I said, ‘Yeah, I lost faith five months ago.”

That’s when their father died while he was a resident at Maimonides. He was 93.

According to the brothers, the official cause of death was heart failure, but they suspect he also had a UTI that was left untreated.

Patrick said he witnessed the neglect of his mother a week ago.

“They changed the diaper before I came in at breakfast, like around 9:30,” he explained, “but from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. nobody came to change her diaper.”

Global News spoke to several other people who allege their family members are not being cared for properly, either.  The complaints include seeing residents suffering severe dehydration, witnessing people sitting in soiled and wet diapers for hours and having to care for loved ones who are getting multiple urinary tract infections.

They also said there is always a problem getting information.

Most refused to speak publicly fearing reprisals, but one spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We’re paying full rent with probably 25 per cent of services,” he claimed.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak at Maimonides seniors residence in Côte Saint-Luc has residents, families on edge

The family member alleged that his parent would wait hours before having their diaper changed or before having a call answered.  His condition deteriorated so the family moved him out of Maimonides. He blames management.

“They really don’t have enough staff at all,” he told Global News.

Families have been making the same observations about staffing since 2020, saying medical and non-medical personnel are overworked and that management need to address the issue.

In a statement, the West-Central regional health authority, which oversees Maimonides, denied that there’s a shortage of orderlies or licensed practical nurses.

“We are staffed as per Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) guidelines,” the statement read.  “As for Registered Nurses (RNs), there have been on-going shortages since last year, which is a reflection of the general shortage of RNs across the province.”

The statement concluded with a claim that the staffing meets the provincial health ministry standards.