Canadian Forces arrive at Montreal seniors’ residences, health authorities rushing to train volunteers


Well-known member
Dec 12, 2018
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed to a public long-term care residence in Montreal on Saturday.

“People were clapping,” said Lieutenant Commander Heather Galbraith of the Royal Canadian Navy, describing the reaction as she and other soldiers entered Centre d’hébergement Yvon Brunet in Lasalle.

Galbraith, a trained family doctor who grew up in Sudbury, Ont., is one of around 100 Canadian Forces medical personnel fanning out to Quebec seniors’ homes.

“We are essentially doing what we call in the Army, Navy and Airforce a ‘reccy,’ a reconnaissance of what needs are required from us, and how we are poised to provide assistance,” Galbraith said.

Yvon Brunet was the second residence the Forces assessed on Saturday, having visited Centre d’hébergement de Verdun earlier.

Yvon Brunet has 105 cases of COVID-19 — 65 per cent of its residents are infected.

“Unfortunately, many of our staff are sick. They have COVID-19,” said Ginette Senez of the CIUSSS Centre-Sud.

“Even if it’s the army, doctors, anybody, I’m happy there’s some help there,” said Gerard Blais, whose sister lives in the residence.

Though all the Canadian Forces personnel being deployed to Quebec have medical training, they don’t necessarily have experience dealing with the elderly.

“We have training packages that are being rolled out to try and best support our personnel so they have the know-how moving in. A lot of that will be learned on the job as well,” Galbraith said.

Senez said when service members arrived to help, she asked that they remove their uniforms because she didn’t want to scare the residents.

Residences all over Montreal are having trouble keeping up with basic needs like feeding and changing diapers for seniors. Canadian soldiers are ready to step in.


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