N.B. nursing home group defends quality of care after scathing report
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- In the wake of a scathing report, the group representing New Brunswick nursing homes is defending the quality of care inside their facilities.
This comes after unionized nurses said this week that living conditions for many nursing home residents are unacceptable.
Some fear "the forgotten generation," will itself be eventually forgotten.
"It is a wake-up call," said Cecile Cassista, a long-time activist for the rights of nursing home residents.
Today, she's hearing from family members of those residents.
"Their message to me today was, we are very concerned," Cassista said. "We need to fix this because it's alarming to know that all of these things are there."
The association that represents New Brunswick nursing homes agrees with some of the issues raised in the report, but disagrees with the more serious allegations:
"There is no evidence to suggest residents and staff are living and working in deeply troubling situations," said Jodi Hall of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes.
The association says it supports improvements in care, but as of today, it says "residents are receiving safe care and homes are taking all steps they can to ensure they experience quality of life.”
Political scientist J.P. Lewis wonders where the voices that will ask for change will come from.
Lewis says it's difficult for a "marginalized group" to generate political action, though, he says, that can change too.
"Or will there be stories, or will there be turning points where there's such an outcry," says Lewis. "Sometimes it just takes one case."
But Cassista says that public pressure is unlikely to come from the families of nursing home residents.
"They're afraid to speak out because there are no consequences to the home operator to penalize them and there are threats of reprisals," Cassista says.
The New Brunswick government has promised to study the findings of the study and respond where it feels necessary. The report, titled The Forgotten Generation, includes 38 recommendations for the federal and provincial governments to improve state of New Brunswick’s long-term care sector.
The pandemic exposed shortcomings, even failures in seniors care here in the Maritimes and across the country. Now, Cassista says this latest report validates many of the accusations she's been making for decades, before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19.