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What HUMA experienced during the pandemic...

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

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The pandemic linked to the COVID-19 virus has affected many Quebec companies. Huma, a company specializing in services for the elderly, also faced several major challenges in its sector of activity.

Impacts on personnel

First, there were direct impacts on the personnel. Huma, as was the case in the entire health care network, had to face a reduction of nearly 50% in the number of its employees. In order to continue to offer their essential home care services, Manon Savoie, one of the owners of Huma, and her assistant Chantal, had to go to the front line to work with clients. Despite their daily involvement, Huma was unfortunately obliged to refuse several requests from CLSCs due to a lack of personnel.

Our actions

In order to ensure the survival of their business, the leaders of HUMA have shown resourcefulness and flexibility. In April, in the midst of the lockdown, they chose to continue the training of five trainees who had been on hold since March. In addition, in order to ensure the safety of its employees and clients, HUMA chose to cover the entire cost of cab travel from Montreal to Longueuil, an unforeseen expense totalling no less than $7,000.

Governement subsidies

Although the governement offered a subsidy, the evaluation criterion was that the company had to demonstrate that it was in deficit for the same month in 2019. For HUMA, this qualifying measure made no logical sense since, during this pandemic, home care services could have been exponential, had it not been for the lack of personnel.

Private services offered in CHSLD

Furthermore, nothing took into account that all our private services in CHSLDs had to be cancelled following the ban on visits to all living environments for the elderly. Although families could not enter to see their loved ones, the owners of HUMA made it their duty to stay in contact with them at all times. To the best of their ability under the exceptional circumstances, the HUMA team tried to support them in this emotional ordeal by listening to their anxiety, their anguish, their sadness.

Psychological impact of the elderly

The most difficult thing for Huma and its staff was undoubtedly to learn of the death of eight clients in the CHSLD due to the collateral damage of the COVID-19 virus. In order to understand the psychological impact on elderly people with a loss of autonomy or cognitive loss, it is important to know that families are important, even essential, human resources (meals - stimulation - hydration - reassuring presence, etc.). In normal circumstances, they are the ones who call upon HUMA to replace them. However, given the precariousness of the pandemic, it is likely that this type of resource offered to caregivers will not be authorized for a long time.

The big challenge for HUMA at the moment is

The big challenge for HUMA at the moment is to find ways to offer a bonus of $4 per hour of overtime, as is currently the case in the public health network, without increasing the cost of services to clients.

All HUMA employees received this bonus from the government for the months of March and April, and then nothing! On the other hand, in the public CHSLDs, everyone still receives it! According to the information provided by HUMA's accountant, in the private company, it seems that it is the employee who has to apply for a subsidy from Revenu Québec in order to be entitled to another subsidy to help them. In reality, not everyone is eligible! If the employee's personal income exceeds $500 per week, the bonus is cancelled.

Wage issue

The salary issue for a company like HUMA is therefore major. The stability of the company's human resources and the long-term development of the services offered in support of the already overburdened health care network are at stake. The hiring of new quality attendants who are ready to join a dedicated team and who have the human element at heart in each of their actions will be all the more important with the coming of a major reform of senior care environments announced by the Legault government.

Huma can really make a difference

Summer is just around the corner and the gradual deconfinement of the elderly could give HUMA the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of many who have suffered from loneliness and isolation for many months. The HUMA team and its leaders are ready. It remains to be seen if the government will really understand the benefits of using the services of an innovative company like HUMA.

Discover our services for people with neurocognitive disorders:


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