The AQRP is asking Quebec to speed up the installation of air conditioning in CHSLDs in the province.
Less than one in two CHSLD residents in Quebec sleeps in an air-conditioned room, denounces the Quebec Association of Retirees from the Public and Parapublic Sectors (AQRP). According to the latter, Quebec must act immediately to avoid the death of seniors due to future heat waves. However, the situation has slightly improved compared to previous years.
In a statement sent on Monday, the AQRP stresses that it is time for all the rooms to be equipped with air conditioners.
In fact, only 49, 5% of CHSLD rooms would be air-conditioned. Compared to last year, this is an increase of 2.5 percentage points.
According to Paul-René Roy, the provincial president of the AQRP, we must at all costs avoid the death of elderly people due to the oppressive heat. Such a phenomenon claimed the lives of 17 people in 2019, as well as that of 21 others in 2020.
According to a list provided with its press release, the AQRP highlights the ” good moves” in terms of air conditioning, particularly at the CISSS de la Montérégie-Ouest, where all rooms in CHSLDs are air-conditioned. The same goes for the CIUSSS de l'Estrie, or that of Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Québec, where the rate of air-conditioned rooms is close to 100%.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the CISSS de la Gaspésie air-conditions only 3 of the 409 rooms offered in the CHSLDs in its territory, for a total of 0.7%. However, all these establishments have at least one air-conditioned common room, specifies the AQRP.
In addition, the CISSS de Montérégie-Centre, as well as the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud- de-l'Île-de-Montréal and Nord-de-l'Île-de-Montréal did not respond to requests from the AQRP.
The problem of heat in CHSLDs is not new, and found itself again in the spotlight after the outbreak of the pandemic, when experts notably expressed concern that the use of portable air conditioners and pedestal fans could increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Last year, the Minister responsible for Seniors, Marguerite Blais, announced an amount of $40 million to carry out air conditioning work in CHSLDs in Quebec.