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Life under Covid-19 in Canada, Montreal: to Render service to our countryhome

Aude Lefeubvre lives in Montreal, in the family, and since 2017. This nurse was sought to work in a retirement home during the health crisis. Despite a number

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Life under Covid-19 in Canada, Montreal: to Render service to our countryhome

Aude Lefeubvre lives in Montreal, in the family, and since 2017. This nurse was sought to work in a retirement home during the health crisis.

Despite a number of cases proportionally not very high (6424 people have died at the date of 24 may, on a population of more than 37 million people), Canada has not finished with the coronavirus. "The game is not won (...) The Covid-19 is still there", has hammered the First quebec minister in his press briefing on may 19. Quebec is the canadian province most affected by the disease (3 984 death to the date of the 24 may, including more than 2,300 in Montreal).

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The French Aude Lefeubvre, 37 years of age, moved to Montreal in family since 2017. A nurse and mother of six children, she tells how she has lived through the crisis, both professionally and personally, while the quebec metropolis starts this Monday, may 25, a déconfinement progressive (re-opening of the shops, but primary schools are closed until September).

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Test the health system "from the inside"

"We arrived at Quebec with a temporary visa for three years. My husband Cedric, who had done a master's degree at the university of Sherbrooke fifteen years ago, had loved her stay here and was well back at one time or another. From my side, the idea appealed to me also. We had the opportunity to leave because the company of Cedric, Accenture, was looking for a person with his profile for his office in Montreal. For my part, I am a nurse-training - in France, I worked in a private clinic in the paris area - but I was on parental leave since 2011. As we have six children, aged 4 to 14 years old, I had made the choice to stay home and not work again in Quebec for the moment.

However, in mid-march, when the containment has been established in Quebec, the health services have contacted me to ask me if I would be ready to give a helping hand, knowing that Canada - and especially Montreal - lack of nursing staff. I don't know very well how they came up to me, but I guess it is because we had launched a few months ago, the procedures for the renewal of our temporary work visa. As my husband was in the house at home, I told myself that it was possible, provided that it is part-time.

In the family, we have not been affected by the virus, but friends around us have contracted. We knew that, if I were to go back to work, we raise inevitably the risk of catching it... But to make service a part of my education and the values we wish to pass on to our children. This is all the more important that we are in a country that welcomes us. I was also curious to test the quebec health care system "from the inside" and see what is the nursing profession in Canada.

My degree is recognized here in Quebec, I don't have to pass equivalency. For exercise, it is nevertheless necessary to register with the college nurse and perform an "adaptation period" to the local customs. I had not done all of this, but with the health crisis, a number of bonds have been lifted. My contract of employment permitted me so to work until the end of the state of public health emergency.

Hired from one day to the next

For several weeks, I was not solicited, even if I had to regularly telephone the human resources of the pole health, which wanted to ensure that I was still interested. A day to 17 hours, it made me pass an interview in English, the débotté, between the taste of children and the preparation of dinner ! I was asked about my skills, my motivation, my wishes, it was practically a job interview... in The end, I was recontactée mid-April, when the media began to echo the situation in some retirement homes, and have uncovered scandals, including that of the private residence Herron, near Montreal. From this moment on, everything went very quickly : I received my contract from work one evening and the next day I was called for a day of training.

We were a quarantine on that day, half of whom are students - many of them are left without resources with the closure of the cafes, restaurants or small shops in which they were in the habit of working after the course. Among the volunteers, there was, of course, medical students, or in areas allied health, but also young people who took courses in very different domains. Depending on the skills and profile of each other, the leaders of the training we have oriented to the facilities and specific tasks.

A retirement home clean and well-kept

From my side, I was assigned, along with seven other volunteers in a retirement home near me - we live in the neighbourhood of the English-speaking Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, in the west of the island. Honestly, after everything I had heard about retirement homes in Quebec, I expected to arrive in a mouroir... But this was not the case at all. The establishment was very clean, very well kept, the equipment was not lacking and the staff was happy to be there. When I arrived, eight residents - about 80 - were sick of the Covid-19. They had all been grouped together on the same floor and supported by the teams as usual.

the role of The volunteers was to take care of the other residents - however, in fact I worked more as a care assistant (or patient care attendant, as they say here) that, as a nurse. It is important to know that in Quebec, everything is done to ensure that seniors are kept up and monitored at home. The people who are in the retirement home are therefore either those with pathologies really very heavy, are those that are very isolated.

For me, it was a little tiring to get back in the bath and work in English. But as my French accent mark is very far ( !), this has also allowed me to link contact more easily with the elderly, who still have trouble when changing their habits... I spent two days in this retirement home but, unfortunately, I've been stopped in my tracks because of a kerfuffle administrative : on my new work visa, the validity of which began in early may, it is said that I can't work in the health field... so I re-launched procedures in an emergency (medical, referring the case to immigration services) to be able to return there. I was a little disappointed, because I was motivated and everything was organised at home so that I could free myself.

"More lucky than in France"

From the start, we have put in place a family planning, and we have more involved children in everyday tasks. These have rather lived through this whole period of containment - in fact, none of them wants to go back to school ! It must be said that we have a large house (they all have their own room, as well as a large shared games room) and a garden. They were also thrilled that their father, who is going on a mission every week for the past few months in Toronto, which is there permanently.

Overall, we consider ourselves more lucky than in France, because we have never been constrained in our movements. The density of population is also less strong than in the paris region. What's more, in Montreal, there are green spaces everywhere, and they have not been closed, even if police patrol bike to check that people were in the family and do not mix each other. The Canadian people are extremely disciplined, and the penalties for non-compliance of the laws are particularly dissuasive sanctions : young people who had organized a small feast for the containment were sentenced to $ 1,500 fine each...

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all In all, Quebec has managed to curb the epidemic, everything has re-opened at the same time as in France and the children are back at school. But not in Montreal : the number of cases continues to increase and schools will remain closed until September. Since a few days, I see more and more people with a mask in the street, and it becomes mandatory to wear in some places. For my part, I am not of a nature anxious - we continue to live, while paying attention. However, we had planned to go to France for the holidays, but this promises to compromise, especially as it recommends to us not to make the trip (unless compelling reason). I'm trying to think of a plan B - go on the side of the eastern Townships, Saguenay-lac-Saint-Jean - but we are not yet sure to have the right to get out of Montreal this summer..."

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