The residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) of Chaudière-Appalaches use a mobile nursing service (GIM)—an exceptional measure aimed at compensating for staff shortages and preventing service ruptures. When an evening or night shift is understaffed, GIM is called in. A nurse is made available, especially at a distance, to deal with emergencies.
The Québec Ombudsman received a report about GIM and decided to intervene.
The investigation showed that the Chaudière-Appalaches CHSLDs often use GIM. This practice is inconsistent with a Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux rule. Having at least one nurse in CHSLDs at all times is mandatory.
Furthermore, as the Québec Ombudsman saw it, the GIM’s explanatory document needed fleshing out about exceptional cases. Clear communications are crucial in preventing serious incidents, and even so more in residential centres that house vulnerable people whose health condition is often unstable.
The information from the investigation also showed that other health institutions use GIM in their CHSLDs. In other words, there are staff shortages across the province.
Once its investigation was completed, the Québec Ombudsman made six recommendations. Four of them were for Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de Chaudière-Appalaches, the institution responsible for the care and services provided by the CHSLDs in question. The other recommendations concerned the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.
The CISSS and the Department accepted all the Québec Ombudsman’s recommendations. The Ombudsman will ensure that they are implemented.