The owners of CHSLD Herron are ceasing operations at the long-term care home in Dorval as of Nov. 14, according to a letter sent out to residents and their families.
The West Island regional health board, the CIUSSS de l’Ouest de l’île de Montréal, will be taking over operations and relocating the remaining residents progressively over the next six to 12 months.
Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé said Monday the province would ensure the residents find a good home.
The CIUSSS confirmed that the owners of CHSLD Herron, the Katasa Group, had decided to close the facility.
Lynne McVey, president of the CIUSSS de l’Ouest de l’île de Montréal, said the minister asked the the health board to step in.
“The residents that are there will transfer into the public sector and we will spend the next six or 12 months listening to the residents and their families on where they would like to be placed, whether they want to stay in the public system or whether they want to be transferred into a private long-term care facility,” McVey said.
The letter sent to residents and their families, signed by Katasa Group manager Katherine Chowieri and dated Nov. 2, states that “the decision, which was not easy to make, can be explained by the current state of operations.”
No additional detail about the reason for closing is provided. Katasa has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The letter goes on to say that residents will be reimbursed their rent for the period of Nov. 14 to Nov. 30.
CHSLD Herron first made headlines earlier this year when dozens of residents died in less a month, following a COVID-19 outbreak.
In all, between March 26 and April 16, 38 deaths at Herron were confirmed by the coroner’s office. During a particularly dark period from April 5 to 10, 23 people died.
WATCH | Nurses say conditions at Herron were inhumane
Quebec politicians expressed outrage upon learning that most staff had abandoned the facility, leaving seniors hungry, thirsty, sick and alone.
“I think it looks a lot like major negligence,” Premier François Legault said back in April.
After management of the facility was taken over by the regional health authority, Montreal police launched a criminal investigation.
The owners were accused of not co-operating with the CIUSSS, a development deemed “extraordinary” by McVey at the time.
It was only after issuing two formal notices and an eventual court order under Quebec’s Public Health Act that officials were able to see residents’ medical files and information about family contacts, McVey said.
Katasa Development Group, based in Gatineau, owns CHSLD Herron and six other seniors’ residences in Quebec.
In September, the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services released its report into the operations of the facility, finding that residents at CHSLD Herron were victims of “organizational negligence”.
The report said that if management at the private seniors’ home had understood its responsibilities and used the resources at its disposal, “it is reasonable to conclude that the Grim Reaper would not have been as devastating.”
When the CIUSSS arrived at Herron on March 29, there were three employees caring for 133 residents. It was filled with a “nauseating odour of urine and feces” and unwashed dishes.
Quebec’s coroner’s office also opened its own investigation into the management of the care home.