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Military deployment in long-term care homes called 'traumatic'

Last Updated Nov 12, 2020 at 12:00 am EST

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are shown at Residence Yvon-Brunet a long-term care home in Montreal, Saturday, April 18, 2020, as COVID-19 cases rise in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Disturbing details emerging from the latest release of transcripts of the Canadian Armed Forces testimony before the Long-Term Care Commission.

In a 61 page transcript released Wednesday from an October 29 meeting, military officials say it became immediately clear long-term care homes were in “crisis” when they were called in by the provincial government during the height of the first wave of the pandemic earlier this spring.

They found a “clear rapid decline in staffing” and that no one was being held to account, there was no oversight to ensure “people weren’t conducting themselves in an unethical manner.”

RELATED: 29 dead as a Scarborough LTC home deals with a COVID-19 outbreak

The report was yet another stark reminder of the challenges faced by members of the military after they were deployed into various long-term care settings.

According to Major Karoline Martin, what CAF members saw in long-term care homes was so bad that mental health teams needed to be brought in to support the military staff in these settings.

“It was very traumatic. It was very devastating to clinicians to see residents passing away.”

The Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission is investigating how the novel coronavirus spread in the long-term care system and will submit its final report on April 30, 2021.

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