Some CHSLD rooms still without AC as Montreal sees rising temperatures

"Make the residents, the patients as comfortable as managers are in their own offices," says Council for the Protection of Patients chair, Paul Brunet, of CHSLD units that lack air conditioning. Anastasia Dextrene reports.

Though the number of air-conditioned rooms in Quebec CHSLDs has increased, there are still some units without sufficient facilities, as Montrealers face higher than average temperatures for this time of the year.

According to the Association Québécoise des Retraités des Secteurs Public et Parapublic (AQRP), many senior residences favour the air conditioning of common areas over individual rooms. The Council for the Protection of Patients chair Paul Brunet says, for seniors, this could pose consequences as real as death.

“Managers have always had, 98 per cent of them, air conditioning in their offices – would the building be 200 years old or very recent. There’s no reason, with respect, there is no reason why you cannot make things better. Not the way you see fit – the way residents, patients tell you how they will feel comfortable,” said Brunet.

According to 2023 data from the AQRP, the percentage of air-conditioned rooms in CHSLDs has steadily increased, rising from eight per cent to 59 per cent over the past 10 years.

“I can say with pride that a lot of management representatives have evolved and have worked on making life more comfortable for long-term facility residents and patients. There’s still a lot of work to do,” said Brunet.

“They need to have adequate comfort in their room, not in the common hall where we, you know, put all people all together like if they were animals.”

With highs of 25 degrees and up in Montreal soaring way above the city’s average temperature of 19.9 degrees for this time of year, keeping cool for seniors and all demographics should be top priority.

“They’re hot and they become dehydrated if we don’t give them something to drink. So yes, it’s very important that air conditioning be installed in CHSLD units,” one woman told CityNews in French.

Another saying, “I sleep all the time and I feel like the elderly, they need more rest too. I don’t think they sleep in the common room.”

Brunet adding, “Some patients are old or sick and just need some, you know, better exchange of air. You have to ask. You have to step out of your office – air-conditioned office, of course – and see the patients respectfully. Madam, sir, what kind of comfort do you need?”

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