McNeil government needs to publish long-term care guidelines

August 5, 2015

NDP Health Critic Dave Wilson says the McNeil government needs to make public new, harsher guidelines that make it harder for seniors to be accepted into nursing homes. He said the family of Edgar and Theresa McPhee deserve answers about why their parents are being forced to live an hour apart after 62 years of marriage.

For much of the last year Theresa and Edgar McPhee have been waiting at St. Martha’s hospital in Antigonish for entrance into a long-term care facility. Both are confined to a wheel chair and originally they were told they would be placed in the same nursing home in Pictou County. But after the Liberals changed the government policy in February, Edgar was assessed and told he didn’t qualify for long-term care. Instead he has been offered a spot in a separate residential care facility an hour away from where Theresa was placed.

The McPhee’s daughter, Verna Stone, says there is very little difference in her parent’s physical conditional and it has been devastating on both of them to be separated. “The only difference is that my father, sometimes, is able to move from his chair to his bed. So now they will be separated. It’s not right.”

Wilson wants to know why Edgar was denied access to long-term care. “This entire situation is extremely sad, and I’d like to know under what guidelines a senior who has been confined to a hospital bed for several months, unable to walk, is being denied access to long-term care?” says Wilson. “They’ve been married for 62 years. And now Theresa is alone while Edgar is lying in a hospital bed waiting for a transfer to a different residential care facility an hour away. At this stage they need to be together not further apart.”

He adds, “This is what happens when a government decides to kick people off the wait list for long-term care while ignoring the real issue – a shortage of beds.”

Between 2009 and 2013 the previous NDP government built approximately 1000 new long-term care beds and announced a plan to open 250 more by 2017. Unfortunately the Liberal government has not followed through on that plan.