SAPA and Rehabilitation Centres

What are the admission criteria for COVID-19 patients who are transferred to in-patient rehabilitation?

Are they considered candidates for rehabilitation while they still test positive and have symptoms?


The MSSS is in the process of identifying rehab hospitals that would receive COVID-positive patients.

Currently, our CIUSSS’s rehab hospitals are not accepting COVID-positive patients. Rehab hospitals are planning to create hot zones for patients who are COVID-positive and are transferred to a designated acute-care hospital.

What measures will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in rehabilitation centres, where people with symptoms can be admitted?

These centres sometimes have only one entrance and may be connected to other facilities, such as CHSLDs. Thus, the risk of contamination is higher.


A protocol is in place for controlling infection, as it applies to admissions. This includes isolating new residents for 14 days.

Wearing a mask is also mandatory in these facilities, as is proper hand hygiene at the entrance. These same rules apply to rehabilitation centres.

Will the rehab centres that accept COVID-positive patients have access to specialized equipment that is currently unavailable at these facilities?

I’m referring to ventilators and PPEs such as N95 masks for nurses and other staff who have direct contact with patients.


At present, the MSSS is in the process of identifying rehab hospitals that could receive COVID-positive patients. However, our CIUSSS’s rehab hospitals are not accepting these patients. Rehab hospitals are planning to create hot zones that would be used until COVID-positive patients are transferred to a designated acute-care hospital. Patients would have to be medically stable and able to participate in rehab, while those who require a ventilator would remain in acute care. Protective equipment for staff (e.g., procedural masks) is available at rehab hospitals.

When patients from my rehab centre go to a doctor’s appointment, they come and go by taxi.

As a result, on at least one occasion, patients have gone elsewhere (i.e., a grocery store) after returning from their appointment, but before re-entering the centre. How can we minimize the risk for all patients and staff when patients return from their appointments?

April 21, 2020


All appointments are reviewed, so that only essential appointments take place. Patients also travel by adapted transport that has a specific destination and pick-up location for the return trip. Patients who are able to run errands are also capable of returning to their own homes; proper discharge planning ensures they can do so safely. At every opportunity, patients are reminded of the importance of washing their hands when arriving at the centre. In some cases, to avoid travel, physicians may also do teleconsultation.

I would like to plan for employees returning to their positions in rehabilitation centres (PRCs)

About 75% of our team members were deployed when a crisis occurred in CHSLDs. Since then, it has been possible to maintain only certain essential services in our rehabilitation centre. Unfortunately, these services do not in any way cover the basic interventions that our clients need. Private clinics will be able to open their doors soon, but what about our services in the PRC? How can we serve our clients if the staff is still deployed?

June 3, 2020


When our CIUSSS realized that the situation would last beyond the short term, a strategic team—the CIUSSS Command Centre to deploy and return staff members—was set up, with representatives from several directorates.

This team is working to plan the way forward, so that all healthcare users in our CIUSSS can take advantage of the services they need as quickly as possible. In addition, the clinical teams in each directorate are subject to national and regional guidelines for their specialty.

They must also comply with public health guidelines for delivering services, in order to ensure that services remain safe for clients and employees. 


What is the deployment plan for professionals—other than occupational therapists or physiotherapists—who are currently on loan as service aides?

June 3, 2020


The plan is similar, though not quite identical, to the one that occupational therapists and physiotherapists in your directorate are familiar with.

It is more complicated to implement, given the number and variability of individuals in various positions who have been deployed since the end of April. We want to ensure that benefits are realized in response to a crisis situation, and not to fill previous gaps.

In addition, some flexibility must also be included in the plans, in order to better respond to the acuity curve of the disease in the various facilities. This curve was not well understood when deployments began in April.

Why aren't Je contribue people being used as service aides, instead of deployed professionals?

The CIUSSS could save money (professional salary versus Je contribue salary) and the professionals could return to their communities to provide services to their currently neglected clientele.

June 3, 2020


Staff from various sources are required—but, in some cases, are still insufficient—to meet the needs of the crisis. These sources include Je contribue, the military, and staff from other facilities, as well as our own staff. The crisis is significant and the staff of Je contribue alone would not meet these needs.

What is the plan to address the needs of children and adults with disabilities who are awaiting service in a rehabilitation centre?

Will parents be notified of this plan soon?

June 3, 2020


The CIUSSS is following the provincial directives of Public Health and the Rehabilitation and Multidisciplinary Services Directorate with respect to resuming service. Based on the health rules that must be followed, a plan to resume service will be communicated and implemented as soon as this becomes feasible.

Is the MSSS aware of this issue regarding the needs of children and adults with disabilities?

The voice of parents that we are hearing in our email inbox will probably soon be in the media.

June 3, 2020


The MSSS is aware of this issue.

Who assesses the staffing needs in the various CHSLDs?

It is time to create positions in CHSLDs and to train professionals adequately.

June 3, 2020


Evaluating and following up on the needs of CHSLDs, RIs and RPAs in our area is handled by various CIUSSS teams.

Speaking as a speech-language pathologist, there is a desperate lack of speech-language pathologists in CHSLDs

They are needed to help residents communicate with their families (an aspect of respect for dignity) and to help them with their dysphagia.

June 3, 2020


Your suggestion will be forwarded to the appropriate diretorate. We are fully aware that despite the crisis that CIUSSS employees have been deployed to deal with, this situation can also help us to develop new initiatives that better meet the needs of our users.

Now that tele-rehabilitation options are available, clinicians who work in rehabilitation centres can provide rehab services safely and easily...

...while respecting Public Health guidelines. At the moment, there is a staff shortage, because rehab professionals are being sent to CHSLDs. This limits our ability to provide services to clients, some of whom have already been waiting a year for services. The waiting list for rehabilitation services is growing longer by the week. Is there a plan to provide reinforcements to deal with the enormous backlog that is accumulating, once rehab professionals return to their own jobs?

June 17, 2020


The response to the needs of our users during the pandemic is, indeed, worrying, which is why everything is being done to ensure that these needs are recognized. The problem of the growing waiting list has been closely monitored since the beginning of the pandemic, and various scenarios are being explored to address it. Employees are encouraged to contribute any innovative ideas that could help to improve this situation.

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