COVID-19: Quebec nursing homes look to balance infection control with return to normal life – GLOBAL

March 3, 2022

Live music has returned to the halls of the Idola St-Jean long-term care home.

Snow swirled outside the windows of the Laval, Que., residence on a recent afternoon, as a singer, wearing a surgical mask and plastic eye goggles, launched into a version of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” While most of her audience of four or five residents in wheelchairs ignored her — more occupied with dolls or a game — one woman smiled broadly, closing her eyes as she listened to the music.

For much of the COVID-19 pandemic, scenes like this did not exist inside Quebec’s long-term care homes.

A year ago, Idola St-Jean was in the throes of a major COVID-19 outbreak, with dozens of workers and residents infected. Most activities were cancelled, and the Billy Joel singer — who normally is a recreation co-ordinator — was reassigned to a job in infection control.

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