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N.S. creates advisory panel to look for ways to improve long-term care

The panel will review quality of care and focus on issues including proper wound care, patient and worker safety, and protection of vulnerable persons.
The panel will review quality of care and focus on issues including proper wound care, patient and worker safety, and protection of vulnerable persons. File/ Global News

Nova Scotia’s health minister has appointed an advisory panel to look at ways to improve long-term care in the province.

The three-member panel consists of Janice Keefe, Dr. Greg Archibald, and Cheryl Smith.

READ MORE: Halifax police investigate death of long-term care resident who had bedsore infection

Keefe, who will be acting as chair, is the director of Mount Saint Vincent University’s Nova Scotia Centre on Aging. Archibald is a family doctor and a wound care expert who heads Dalhousie University’s Department of Family Medicine. Smith is a nurse practitioner who focuses on polypharmacy and dementia care.

The panel will recommend appropriate staffing levels and skill mix, and advise on the recruitment and retention of long-term care staff.

It will also review quality of care and focus on issues including proper wound care, patient and worker safety, and protection of vulnerable persons.

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“We want to make sure people living in our long-term care homes are getting the best care possible,” said Health Minister Randy Delorey in a news release.

“Recent concerns have left us looking at what we can be doing differently and these experts will help guide us.”

The death of Chrissy Dunnington in March shed light on issues within long-term care facilities. The 40-year-old woman, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, was a resident of a facility. She died from an infected Stage 4 pressure ulcer, or bedsore, 15 months after moving in.

WATCH: Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in NS long-term care facilities

Click to play video 'Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in NS long-term care facilities' Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in NS long-term care facilities
Severe bedsores identified as widespread issue in NS long-term care facilities – Jun 21, 2018

Halifax Regional Police announced in June they were investigating whether her death was the “result of criminal negligence” while she was a resident at the facility.

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The case also prompted the province to require all long-term care facilities to immediately report the number of bedsores and the severity of them in their facilities.

In June, the province said they had identified 152 Stage 3 and 4 — the most severe cases — bedsores in the province.

The panel has been asked to report back with recommendations by Nov. 30.