‘The best Mother’s Day ever’: Montreal doctor to be reunited with her mother after 2 months apart

Before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Montreal, Thérèse Perreault would visit her 91-year-old mother in CHSLD Saint-Henri every day. 

But since visitors were banned from entering long-term care homes on March 14, Perreault hasn’t been able to see her mother in person.

“Usua​lly we FaceTime every day and we sing together because that’s what she loves to do,” said Perreault. “It gives her a moment of joy.”

On Monday, Perreault is finally going to be able to see her mom again.

“Being with her after two months will be the best Mother’s Day ever,” she said.

The province is allowing regular caregivers of seniors back into residences as of May 11, with some restrictions. 

Caregivers must have been regularly looking after their senior before the pandemic and must wear personal protective equipment inside the facility.

As a neonatal doctor at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Perreault knows a thing or two about caring for patients.

On Sunday she’ll be working at the hospital, but on Monday, she plans to give her mother a full day of care.

“I’ll probably do her nails, probably try to cut her hair too. I would love to give her a shower too, so I have big plans,” she said.

“I’m sure she’s going to be thrilled.”

Celebrating from afar

For Patrizia Di Biase, this Mother’s Day represents a huge difference from the celebration they held last year.

Last year Patrizia Di Biase, back left, was able to celebrate Mother’s Day with her 97-year-old mother Antonietta Pollice. This year, all Di Biase can do is call her and wave a sign outside teh CHSLD where her mother lives. (Submitted by Patrizia Di Biase,)

Di Biase’s mother is 97 and lives in CHSLD Herron, one of the first Montreal long-term care homes to experience an outbreak.

She told CBC that last year, the whole family was able to get together for a special meal in the residence.

“Who knew that a year later this would be happening,” she said.

This Mother’s Day, Di Biase plans to head over to the residence and hold up a sign up for her mother to see out the window.

Pranco Leone and Patrizia Di Biase will be celebrating Mother’s Day on the lawn of CHSLD Herron this year. (Louis-Marie Philidor/CBC)

She said she wants to make sure her mother knows the family is “always there for her.”

“We think of her every day.”

Flowers and gifts allowed

​Each regional health authority has its own rules and procedures, but the CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal told CBC that family members are allowed to drop off gifts like flowers and food.

According to the health agency, “it is possible for families to bring flowers or other gifts to the CHSLD where their loved one is staying, especially to mark Mother’s Day.”

“However, it is recommended that the flowers be wrapped and that the gifts, including home-cooked meals, have a surface that can be disinfected (ex: box of chocolates).”

The CIUSSS also specified that visits are only permitted for on humanitarian grounds for people in palliative and end-of-life care and no symptomatic visitors will be allowed in.

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