Relatives of a dying man lament that he did not even get a shower during the weeks he spent in palliative care before he died.
“He asked it many times and it was always ‘no’. For him, it was a basic need and a comfort care, now, “laments Natacha Chouinard, his ex-spouse and caregiver.
Admitted to the palliative care unit of Sainte-Croix Hospital in Drummondville at the beginning of December, Denis Thibault died there on January 4 from generalized cancer.
One of his last wishes would have been to take a shower, he who had to wear incontinence briefs and wash with a washcloth since his admission.
“To be well, it takes a minimum [d’hygiène] », Judges his son, Steve Thibault.
Except that a nurse questioned by Mme Chouinard reportedly told him that a shower was simply out of the question due to COVID.
“As a patient care attendant for 15 years, it hurt my heart to hear that,” she recalls.
Her offer to shower the 71-year-old herself was also turned down.
The 7e floor of the establishment where Mr. Thibault was hospitalized had been under a special protocol since December 9 due to the presence of potential cases of coronavirus
A misunderstanding of the measures in place or an excess of zeal could explain the refusal wiped by the septuagenarian, since showers were still allowed there in humanitarian cases.
“Outbreaks cause a load [de travail] additional. With the lack of personnel, this request to take a shower may not have materialized, “admits Guillaume Cliche, information officer for the CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Center-du-Québec.
As for relatives, they must absolutely be accompanied by an employee to provide care, regardless of their job title, he emphasizes.
As head of the Council for the Protection of the Sick, Paul Brunet sees this story as another example of a “rapid, reckless and inhumane” decision caused by the panic surrounding the pandemic.
“We made some decisions because we ran out of time and resources. It may explain them, but that does not excuse them, ”says the spokesperson.
Despite his cancer and the inability to take a shower, Denis Thibault remained in a good mood.
“Even with the illness, my father took everything to the positive side. He called it “his little sores,” “recalls his son Steve, who stayed at his bedside until the end.