Ottawa

Coroners criticized company behind Montreal seniors' home last summer

A woman whose mother died in a private retirement home in Gatineau, Que., last year said she doesn't understand how the company was able to keep operating homes, including one in the Montreal area that had more than 30 residents die in less than a month.

Flagged issues with care at Gatineau, Que., home run by Katasa Group

A woman holds up a sign outside CHSLD Herron, a long term care home in the Montreal suburb of Dorval, Que., on Saturday, April 11, 2020, as COVID-19 cases rise in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

A woman whose mother died in a private retirement home in Gatineau, Que., last year said she doesn't understand how the company was able to keep operating homes, including one in the Montreal area that had more than 30 residents die in less than a month.

Dominique Sigouin's mother, Colombe Arvisais, died at Résidence de l'île — a home run by the Katasa Group — in March 2019 after living there for only two days.

Last summer, two coroners sounded the alarm following the deaths of her and two others at the home, calling for a regulatory investigation and changes to provincial rules.

Katasa Group is a Gatineau-based company that also owns CHSLD Herron — a long-term care facility in the Montreal suburb of Dorval where 31 people have died since March 13.

Five of those deaths have been linked to COVID-19. Montreal police are now investigating the deaths, as is the coroner's office.

Sigouin called the situation at CHSLD Herron "disgusting," and said she wasn't surprised.

"We close grocery stores, restaurants for unsanitary conditions," she said in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada.

"We are not talking about tomatoes, we are talking about residents. We're talking about human beings, and it takes deaths and deaths and deaths for [someone to take notice.]"

She said the province shouldn't fund privately-run long-term care home companies.

In a statement, Katasa Group said CHSLD Herron employees made "extraordinary efforts" and blamed the local health authority for a "lack of support."

Gatineau employee sick

In addition to Résidence de l'île, Katasa Group also owns two other seniors residences in Gatineau: Village Riviera and Le District d'Aylmer, and a total of seven elder-care facilities in Quebec.

One employee at the Village Riviera has tested positive for COVID-19, the company also said in a statement on the weekend.

The employee is in isolation and all the common areas have been disinfected, it said. 

The employee showed symptoms on April 7 and told staff at the home the next day. Katsana Group said all of their colleagues have been told to get tested 

A staff member at Village Riviera in Gatineau, Que., has been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the Katasa Groupe, which operates the home. (Mathieu Gohier/Radio-Canada)

On Saturday, Quebec Premier François Legault said all residences owned by Katasa Group would be closely monitored.

The Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO) said it had visited Katasa Group's three Gatineau residences Saturday and no major issues were flagged.

With files from Radio-Canada's Yasmine Mehdi

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

now