Houston: ‘Future of Long-Term Care requires a plan’

Changes are urgently needed in order to provide Nova Scotia seniors with the care and dignity they deserve. Today PC Leader Tim Houston wrote to Minister of Health Leo Glavine to find out how long-term care will be improved, and how any federal money has been spent.

Houston and his PC team released a fully-costed, comprehensive long-term care plan in July that would see Nova Scotia build approximately 2,500 new single bed rooms, hire 2,000 additional staff and increase the minimum hours of care per resident to 4.1.

53 people died at Northwood in Halifax last year after COVID-19 spread through the out-of-date facility.

“It’s not the time to wait around,” said Houston. “We saw this government ignore the problems at Northwood for years until it was too late. We need to see a plan to know that won’t happen again. We can’t have any more recommendations sitting on Ministers’ desks for three years.”

Houston also wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to share his plan Dignity For Our Seniors, and to inquire on the status of federal standards for long-term care.

“I understand people are busy,” said Houston. “But when months go by without hearing any plans for seniors, I start to worry that they are being forgotten once again.”

“The PC Party will always be a loud voice advocating for seniors.”

Houston says that with support from the federal government, an additional 1,000 single bed rooms could be built, bringing the total to 3,500. On August 5, the Prime Minister announced a $3.3 billion fund for infrastructure related to COVID-19, including long-term care developments.

Houston adds the provincial government has been quiet on long-term care improvements since the summer and wants assurances that the Minister has been consulting the long-term care sector on changes and securing promised federal funding.

"Are you currently at the table with the federal government actively engaging in those discussions and advocating for Nova Scotia?” asked Houston. “Have you been actively consulting with our long-term care industry?”

"We believe that this fund is a great opportunity for Nova Scotia to seek the support desperately needed to improve our long-term care system,” said Houston.

The PC’s Dignity For Our Seniors plan includes commitments to:
  • Build more single bedrooms.
  • Address the human resources challenges in our system by normalizing the workload of staff and making training more accessible.
  • Prepare for the future by creating a new option of care after home care but before nursing home care, called “Supportive Living,” that provides seniors and their families with increased choice and autonomy over care options and services.