I have always been fascinated by people who dedicate their lives to changing the world by helping others. I try to be inspired by those people who add a bit of sunshine to the often dim landscape of daily news. Sometimes I imagine a completely different world in which we could talk about what’s going well to change the usual bad news.
Now La Presse has the good idea of highlighting people we admire, so I’m jumping on this great opportunity offered to me to introduce you to Stephanie Baby, who for me is a radiant sun that rises every morning. to change the world. Stéphanie practices a profession little known to the general public: she is a tireless worker in the shadows who has been going to the homes of people with loss of autonomy for 17 years now.
Stéphanie is an ace of hearts in my opinion, the kind of hidden card that everyone should have in their game. I use this expression because Stéphanie practices the fascinating profession of auxiliary to health and social services (ASSS). It’s a bit complicated as a job name, so to put it simply, I prefer to say that Stéphanie is my favorite AS. In fact, the ASSS used to be called family auxiliaries. Although the name has changed, the auxiliary profession has remained much the same for 50 years. They are still at the service of people with loss of autonomy who want to stay at home.
It must be said that Stéphanie has a very developed social fiber, this dates back to her adolescence and her meeting with community worker Pierre Massie, founder of the organization Le Petit Peuple on the North Shore.
Together, they will accomplish great things in their community, but in truth, Stephanie’s social commitment takes root in her childhood, when her parents trained her to participate in community groups in her neighborhood (Optimist club, Lions club, Knights of Columbus…). I too was lucky to have this kind of parents who were very invested in the community, which is why I identify with Stéphanie, because she likes to defend causes. Like that of home care to which she devotes her life.
Did you know that nurses and doctors used to come to people’s homes? It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, especially when you see the level of overcrowding in the emergency room. And yet, while Amazon delivers your purchases to your doorstep in less than 24 hours, know that Stephanie offers an even more reliable and efficient service, since she shows up every day at the right time to provide care and services to those in need. Unfortunately, Stephanie is a fairly rare commodity, because there are only about 7,000 auxiliaries who, with the support of CLSCs, provide home care throughout Quebec. Due to a lack of investment, nearly 20,000 people are waiting for a first home care service in Quebec.
What is especially incredible is that not only do ASSSs at heart like Stéphanie travel to your home, but they are also trained to offer you a variety of care and services. Although she is not a specialist, Stéphanie has training as a health and social services assistant, which leads her to combine several skills that would otherwise be assumed by four people: an attendant, a nurse, an occupational therapist and a social worker. I find it a revolutionary approach, yet there is nothing new under the sun there.
Inherited from a distant past that dates back to the time when Émilie Gamelin devoted her life to sick elderly people, the profession of auxiliary (ASSS) is, in my opinion, the answer to the accelerated aging of the population. As you know, Quebec is aging rapidly. By 2031, we will have joined Japan since one out of four Quebecers will be a senior (65 years and over). Beyond the statistics, this indisputable demographic reality forces us to rethink our ways of doing things right now.
Whereas in the past our grandparents ended their days in their homes, today it is clear that with life expectancy approaching 90 years, there are not enough places to accommodate the elderly in Autonomy loss. The waiting lists are getting longer every day and we have more than 4,000 people looking for a place in a CHSLD. We must therefore go back to encourage as much as possible the home care of people who are willing and able to stay at home, as is the case in the Scandinavian countries.
If Quebec missed the shift to home care, it is quite simply because it took the CHSLD highway by adopting a type of accommodation based on the hospital model. Quebec even ranks first among OECD countries for the resources devoted to long-term accommodation to the detriment of home care. This explains why many seniors with loss of autonomy go through the emergency room and then have to wait on a hospital floor for a place to become available in the residential and long-term care network. In other words, with the current hospital model, the elderly are forced to end their days in care environments rather than in living environments. This is not only unacceptable humanly speaking, but when we know that a place in a CHSLD costs the State approximately $100,000 per year, we can imagine the economy of scale that this would represent if we adopted a model based on home care.
If I am telling you about this, it is because Stéphanie takes care of people like my mother, which makes it possible to delay their move to CHSLDs.
At 88, my mother suffered from cognitive loss, but even though she was considered semi-autonomous, I had to place her because the private residence for seniors (RPA) where she lived no longer wanted to care for her. . In Quebec, the model based on the profitability of private residences obliges elderly people with a loss of autonomy to move when they require more than one hour of care per day.
Because the profitability of RPA comes mainly from the rental of living spaces, while care requires human resources, which represents investments. The bill is therefore transferred to the public system. And seniors who need care must register on a list to wait for their place in the public accommodation network, either in an intermediate residence (IR) or in a CHSLD which, unfortunately, is already occupied at full capacity.
At least that’s the story I lived with my mother Madeleine and that I tell in the film I placed my mother that you will see, I hope, to get a better idea of what many people are going through seniors and their families in Quebec (and I’m not talking about the 24-hour delay that the CLSC gives you when you are called to move your mother).
By providing home care, auxiliaries like Stéphanie not only help unclog emergency rooms and hospitals, but they also allow caregivers to have a moment of respite. Especially since they can offer the services up to two or three times a day, which is very reassuring for families who can follow the evolution of the level of autonomy of their loved ones. These are just a few of the reasons we need to move quickly to home care.
Stéphanie is patient, but there are limits to the fact that the profession we practice is so little known to the general public.
For the situation of home care to evolve in Quebec, as is the case in other civilized countries, Stéphanie works tirelessly to bring the profession of auxiliaries out of the shadows. This is what led her to found the group A. S. S. S. Now or never in 2020. “It has to change quickly,” Stephanie told me during our conversation, and I understand her call to want things to change.
Before being re-elected last fall, Prime Minister François Legault spoke of initiating a major shift towards home care. In addition, in March 2022, he mandated the Health and Welfare Commissioner, Joanne Castonguay, to assess “the performance of government programs to improve home care and support services”. . The tabling of this report is expected for the end of 2023, but by dint of studying and piling up the reports, Quebec does not realize that it already has a well-stocked deck of cards in its hand. filled with aces of hearts.
The cards are no longer hidden, Mr. Legault, listen to the auxiliaries who are at work while Quebec continues to age in CHSLDs. Thank you, Stephanie Baby, you are my ace!