Question Period Highlight – Liberal inaction on Home Care Waitlist

November 6, 2014

Your NDP MLAs are hard at work in the legislature this fall, holding the government to account during Question Period on a number of key issues, including job loses since Stephen McNeil became Premier, and how the Liberals’ health board amalgamation distraction is causing their government to take their eye off what really matters – front line care. Here is a question NDP MLA Lenore Zann asked Liberal Health Minister Leo Glavine about a freeze on people who need homecare.

LENORE ZANN: My question today is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. A family in Colchester County says that they feel like they’re living in limbo due to the VON freeze on taking new clients or reinstating services for previous clients who have been hospitalized. Ethel Turner’s mother was hospitalized on October 11th and although she has been ready to be discharged for two weeks, she’s still taking up a needed hospital bed because continuing care is no longer able to schedule her home care visits. She has been advised by the care coordinator that this freeze on accepting new home care patients is expected to last two or three months.

My question for the minister is, how long will Ethel Turner’s mother have to take up a hospital bed before she can just go home?

LEO GLAVINE: That is a great question that the member opposite has brought forward. Even with putting an additional $18 million into home care this year, we know that we’re seeing that first major wave of the baby boom generation as 34 Nova Scotians become seniors every day. Meeting the capacity to provide enough home care workers in some cases and get everything scheduled is part of the work of the Continuing Care Strategy. We’re moving to what will be a competitive model to provide home care, which we think will bring better results.

LENORE ZANN: I thank the minister for that response. Our seniors have worked their whole lives to build this province, and they deserve our respect and our care. Ethel Turner and her family just want her mother to be able to go home instead of being moved from hospital bed to hospital bed, depending on what’s available. Through you, Mr. Speaker, when will the Colchester County VON’s freeze on taking new clients be lifted so that Ethel Turner’s mother can return home safely?

LEO GLAVINE: I know that the department continues to monitor and work. We do have three pressure points in the province at the moment. We have six of the current districts that are handling the requirements very well, but when it comes to sometimes metro – not in a continuous manner – the Annapolis Valley and Pictou are three areas that – and Truro, yes – that district, now the larger district of Pictou, Cumberland, Colchester, that area is under more stress and what we’re working to do is to make sure the beds in nursing homes turn over quicker and we get the scheduling for home care in a more timely fashion.