Nursing Home Act changes2021

 

Legislation Introduced To Extend Nursing Home Discharge Notification Period

Saint John, NB, Canada / Country 94


The New Brunswick government has introduced legislation providing more notice before nursing home residents are discharged.

“Caring for seniors is a priority for our government, and we regularly review our programs to make sure they reflect the needs of that sector and the residents served within it,” said Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch in a release.

“The department is proposing changes to improve the resident discharge policy to make sure that residents of long-term care facilities are better protected,” continued Fitch.

If approved, under the Nursing Homes Act, the notification period would go from 15-days to 30-days.

Cecile Cassista, executive director, Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights said the language currently in the act outlines a nursing home can let a resident go for any reason within the current time period.

“I think the 30-days is important, but also it’s important to note that the government is going to be providing a list which will be posted for 28-days for stakeholders (and the public) to respond, and I did ask for that list.”

The list will illustrate allowable circumstances for discharge, and in the province’s release it states, “it will be posted online in the coming weeks.”

“It’s not an easy thing to evict someone from a home, and I think there are all kinds of variables out there, especially with COVID-19 it has highlighted a lot of information, especially when there have been restrictions on families to be able to have access to their loved ones,” said Cassista.

The government also proposes adding a provision to the act that a resident can only be discharged from a nursing home under the circumstances detailed in the act’s regulation.

“The fact that, until now, there has been no limit on allowable reasons for discharge has been an area of concern among stakeholders … any discharge of nursing home residents will have to fit within the circumstances to be prescribed by regulation,” added Fitch in the government’s release.


Nursing Home Act changes 2021

 It was cruel': Family of Saint Johner evicted from nursing home slams proposed legislative reforms

Susan Steels visits her mother Pauline Breen at the Loch Lomond Villa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Breen was evicted from the Villa in May, dying less than a month later.

Susan Steels visits her mother Pauline Breen at the Loch Lomond Villa during the COVID-19 pandemic. Breen was evicted from the Villa in May, dying less than a month later. 

Proposed legislation to provide more notice time for nursing home residents facing discharge comes too late for some New Brunswick families, receiving mixed reviews.

On Tuesday, the New Brunswick government introduced legislation to make changes to the New Brunswick Nursing Homes Act. They included extending the notification period for discharges from 15 to 30 days and a provision that discharges may only occur under specific circumstances detailed in the act.

Currently, residents of nursing homes and special care homes can be discharged for "any reason," according to section 17(1) of the act. 


It's something that relatives of nursing home residents like Susan Steels and Peggy McLean learned the hard way.

Susan Steels's 83-year-old mother, Pauline Breen, was discharged from Loch Lomond Villa in May, after Steels and her sisters began asking questions about their mother, whose health was rapidly deteriorating. The letter informing the family of Breen's eviction said it was happening "due to the lack of trust you have expressed in our care."


Even after receiving a seven-day extension to the 15-day notice period negotiated through their lawyer, Steels said no other nursing home beds opened up, and her mother had to be transferred to the Saint John Regional Hospital. 


Breen died less than a month later.


For Steels, it was never a question of the amount of notice a family got, but the fact that evictions of nursing home residents could happen in the first place. The proposed legislation "missed the boat," she said.


An added 15 days wouldn't have helped her mother, Steels added.


"My mother had dementia. My mother was very frail. She was very fragile in her health. To discharge somebody like her caused her great trauma. It caused our family trauma that we will live with for the rest of our life," Steels said.


"It wasn't cruel because it happened in 15 days or 30 days. It was cruel because it happened."


Peggy McLean of Miramichi was shocked to receive notice in May that her 78-year-old mother only had 15 days to leave her Saint John special care home.


The family was told at the time that the level of care required by her blind mother was more than the home could provide. But McLean told the Miramichi Leader in June that her mother's needs hadn't changed in the three years she'd lived there.


Learning about the proposed changed to the act this week, McLean said it was a step in the right direction.


"Fifteen days is not enough time to try to find reasonable accommodations, particularly if they need to go to another level of care," McLean said.


The addition of allowed reasons for discharging residents would also give families a "reasonable explanation" that they could have tried to resolve, McLean added. 


The province hasn't released the list of allowable circumstances yet. A press release from the Department of Social Development said that a list would be posted online in "coming weeks," and provide the public with 28 days with which to supply feedback.


Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents‘ Rights, has been waiting for changes to the Nursing Homes Act for many years.


"This section of the Nursing Homes Act has been around since 1980. It's pretty archaic," she said, adding she's already gone through the proposed changes with a fine-tooth comb.


Cassista said she wasn't too concerned that 30 days wouldn't be enough time for residents and their families, especially given there will be a list of allowable circumstances.


"I think that with the changes coming, to me, it's positive, and that we can work with it moving forward."


Social Development Bruce Fitch acknowledged past concerns about there being no clear list of reasons to discharge residents.


"Discharging a resident from a long-term care facility is always a last resort,” Fitch said in his press release. “Any discharge of nursing home residents will have to fit within the circumstances to be prescribed by regulation.”


Steels said she believes nursing home operators should only be able to evict residents for "serious reasons." 


"And that has to be completely explored; the operator needs to demonstrate that," she added.


– With files from Payge Woodard

Health Reform 2021

 

Seniors advocates believe 'aging in place' plan is achievable

Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents' Rights, is calling for more support to allow seniors stay in their homes longer.

The New Brunswick government's plan to help seniors live in their own homes will be a huge step forward, according to Cecile Cassista.

The Coalition for Seniors executive director said she finds it alarming that seniors stay in nursing homes at an average of 2.8 years longer than any other province.

"We have always been promoting home care. I think the home care case has been broken, and it needs to be revamped, not patched. People want to live in their community and their environment," said Cassista.

She said the problem stems from seniors resisting getting medical attention so when they reach the point they need health care they end up in hospital.

"We should have more clinics. What we have in New Brunswick are after hour clinics, clinics where you need to make an appointment. What we need are clinics where seniors can go in and get their X-rays," she said.

New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard has promised a doctor for everyone in the province, be it virtual or otherwise.

Last week, when the provincial government unveiled its five-year provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action, several details were outlined to support seniors to age in place.

These included expanding Extra-Mural Program services and leveraging technology to enable seniors to live independently for as long as possible. Ensuring seniors have the resources, programming and care available where they live to reduce capacity in the hospital system, Shephard said.

Cassista said services need to be improved to better allow seniors to stay in their homes.

"The system is not really user-friendly. There needs to be a simplified brochure that shows the steps and conditions they need to meet. I get a lot of calls from seniors who don't know the system. It is very complex," she said. 

She said she is encouraged by what the government has unfolded and is also pleased to see the use of the Extra-Mural Program services to allow seniors to have followup appointments with social workers without leaving their homes.

"As an advocate I am going to keep on top of this. I don't believe it is just a paper document that is out there. I believe it is sincere, well-thought-out and achievable," said Cassista.

Miramichi Seniors Coalition chair Claude Stewart said there is also a need for more incentives to keep seniors in their homes.

"Even if they were staying in their own home, there should be concessions for property taxes for one thing. There is some there for low income seniors, but they should abolish taxes for seniors on a fixed income, period."

Stewart said unless better systems are put in place, many seniors won't be able to stay in their homes regardless of desire.

"I don't see how seniors would be able to stay in their own home as the cost of living and inflation continues to rise. They almost have no choice but to go into a seniors home," said Stewart adding, "it would be much economical to keep them in their own home."


Seniors hospital should relocate

 https://coalitionnb.blogspot.com/


Published Nov. 26, 2021 9:07 p.m. AST

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The executive director of New Brunswick’s Coalition for Seniors had a strong message for anyone currently staying in The Moncton Hospital Friday.

“If you can get out, I would encourage you to be able to get out and be placed in a different kind of environment and I think that the government should be looking to do that,” said Cecile Cassista during a Zoom interview with CTV News Friday morning.

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Since declaring the outbreak at the Horizon Health Network facility earlier this week, 27 patients and six staff have tested positive for the virus; nine new cases since the last update provided on Wednesday, November 24th. 


A spokesperson for the health network says a total of 52 COVID-19 positive patients are in Horizon operated facilities across the province - 13 of them in intensive care units.

In an email to CTV News, Vitalite Health Network says just four patients are currently in hospital at their facilities; three patients at the George L. Dumont in Moncton and one patient at the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst.

“I really think that they need to take another look at moving those who are able to get out and transition into other care facilities or at home and I’m pleading with family members to cooperate because I think this is for their safety,” said Cassista.

Four in-patient units at the hospital are on lockdown to try and curb the spread. On Monday, the stroke and family medicine unit (Unit 4600) declared an outbreak of the virus, with the rehabilitation unit (Unit 4400) and the family practice and geriatric unit (Unit 5100) doing the same on Tuesday.

The following day, the family medicine and palliative care unit (Unit 3600) also declared an outbreak.

“To have an outbreak in a hospital, where you have a lot of vulnerable people that are patients there...it’s worrisome. I think they’ve reacted quickly and I think they took some measures to get this under control and I always trust these professionals in health care and how they react to it,” said Roger Melanson, New Brunswick’s Liberal Party Leader.

Public health reported 99 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number of active cases to 787 across the province. The majority of the new cases were in the Moncton region with 48 confirmed cases being reported.  

Despite the recent upward trend in cases, New Brunswick’s minister of health, Dorothy Shephard, is confident the hospital has the situation under control.

“The hospital is managing well right now. They are doing sentinel testing, proactive testing of non-symptomatic individuals throughout the hospital to ensure that they try to catch anything if it has spread, but there’s no indication of that right now,” said Dorothy Shephard.

On Friday evening, Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital declared COVID-19 outbreaks in the facility’s orthopedic surgery and internal medicine units.

Health officials say this comes after a patient on each united tested positive with the virus.

Horizon says it has implement comprehensive infection prevention and control precautions, such as enhanced cleaning and contract tracing.

Patients and staff in both units are being tested, officials say so far, no other cases have been identified.


Horizon says surgeries, labour and birth services, ambulatory care and professional services appointments will continue.

Officials say staff are working to provide care and comfort to their patients during the outbreaks.

RELATED IMAGES


As concern continues to grow surrounding The Moncton Hospital's COVID-19 outbreak, Horizon's Saint John Regional Hospital also declared a COVID-19 outbreak Friday evening.

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October 2021 Nursing Home Waitlist


 

Labour Birth unit to reopen

 Update: The government has back tracked on closing the labour birth unit in Waterville. They have confirmed that as soon as they can staff it will reopen.

Thanks everyone for engaging.

Horizon Lanour birth unit to reopen


 

Expectant Mothers to Travel 2021


Shocking to read that the labour birth unit in Waterville is shut down. Expectant mothers will have to travel to Fredericton. 

Seniors have been under constant attack by government in a variety of ways. Working people are in a labour dispute.

 Parents are teachers. Expectant mothers are expected to travel long distance to give birth. Someone is not thinking straight.

 What will the government think of next to punish citizens of NB.  

What a mess New Brunswick is in.

Who’s next on the agenda.

Coalition for Seniors Writes Premier on Labour Dispute

 Dear Premier Higgs

Labour Dispute 

Should the Coalition for Seniors be concerned about the recent Higgs government Labour dispute?

With 805 seniors on the wait list for Nursing Home placement and 455 in acute hospital beds. Is this cause for concern?

What about delays in assessments to determine the level of care, clean linens fresh daily, the list is endless. Children of today need the best education. Parents are not teachers they signed on to be parents.

We are monitoring the situation closely.
Many workers as we understand have not had a wage increase since 2018. 
A pension plan should be cherished and enhanced  to retire with dignity. 
Take a look at the cost of living for NB, 5.1 for September, 2021 with commodities continue to rise.


We trust you will resolve the labour dispute quickly so that citizens of NB will be able to get back to living a peaceful and normal life despite the storm of the pandemic that continues to disrupt our lives.
It’s no secret that the government has a surplus of more than $400 M, time for sharing.
We expect better from your government. 
We look forward to your quick action to resolve this dispute.

Warm Regards,
Cecile Cassista 
Executive Director
Coalition for Seniors


and Nursing Home Residents ‘Rights
107 Summerdale Ct
Riverview, NB
E1BOV1
506  850 8286
Pronoun: she/her/hers
Twitter —@CassistaCecile
Coalitionnb.blogspot.com