N.S. nursing homes look for action on funding increases in wake of COVID-19
Northwood's Halifax campus is seen on Gottingen Street on April 6, 2020. (Carl Pomeroy/CTV Atlantic)
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's nursing home operators are looking for action on long-standing requests for improved funding after COVID-19 shone a spotlight on the system's weaknesses.
The Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association is releasing a position paper today titled "Enough Talk" that asks the Health Department to start fulfilling recommendations made in past reports.
Debra Boudreau, the chairwoman of the association, says her group -- which represents the majority of licensed long-term care facilities -- believes the system was teetering on the edge in the years leading up to the pandemic.
The position paper calls for investment in the workforce, a plan to build and renovate facilities and more aggressive timelines to fulfil findings from the health minister's expert advisory panel on long-term care presented on Dec. 21, 2018.
The panel had called for measures such as adding skilled, support professionals to help nursing homes cope with residents who are increasingly frail and have growing levels of dementia.
Michele Lowe, executive director of the association, says her membership already knows what care the provinces elderly deserve but adds the homes can't wait any longer for government assistance to deal with those needs.
She says that since 2008, at lease nine reports with recommendations have been generated on long-term care in Nova Scotia, and none of them have been fully implemented.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most of Nova Scotia's deaths occurred at the Northwood long-term care facility in Halifax.
The care complex said 246 residents became ill, with 193 residents recovering and 53 dying from the illness.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 21, 2020.