Advocacy group for the elderly demand a clear action plan for the province on long term care

Jesse Thomas / Global News

An advocacy group for the elderly says the province needs to step up and lay out plans for the long-term care of patients across the province.

Gary MacLeod, chair of Advocacy for the Care of the Elderly (ACE), says they are still waiting for the ministry of health and wellness to table its action plan following the tabling of an export report on the long term care in January that provided a list of recommendations to better the state of senior care.

READ MORE: ‘It’s basically a warehouse for the dying’: Nova Scotians call for overhaul of long-term care homes

“More beds, more trained staff, and increased funding,” is what are needed, said MacLeod.

ACE wants action now and asking the minister of health and wellness Randy Delorey to give them a timeline with some goals to meet.

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“We’ve requested some kind of response to this expert panel report that cost $2 million and the public is not receiving anything — nothing, no information,” said MacLeod.

Minister Delorey wasn’t available for comment, but the department issued a statement saying work is underway on all of the panel’s recommendations. That statement added that the government is investing $5 million to help implement the first phase of the report’s findings, which includes advancements for wound care and prevention for afflictions like bedsores.

“We know that Nova Scotians have unique care needs when they enter long-term care, and that’s why we engaged the Long-term Care Expert Advisory Panel to better understand the quality of care in our facilities. Work is underway on all of the panel’s recommendations and progressing within the recommended timelines,” said the department.

Macleod says they have been studying the case in Ontario, of the nurse, turned convicted serial killer Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who intentionally killed eight patients at nursing homes on the London area.

READ MORE: Systemic failures in long-term care allowed serial killer ex-nurse Wettlaufer to commit crimes

The systemic failures, along with other vulnerabilities within the care system, make it possible for that tragic situation to take place here, said MacLeod.

“Through another FOIPOP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) the ace team has uncovered on average of 400 cases of abuse and neglect a year [in Nova Scotia],” said MacLeod.
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“And only 20 percent out of that are investigated.”

While MacLeod says no charges or penalties have been issued through these investigations.

The ministry of health and wellness addressed the Wettlaufer case and in a statement, said, “the safety of residents in our long-term care facilities has always been and continues to be a priority. [They] will be reviewing the results of the Ontario public inquiry.”

As for immediate long term care plans here, the province made two announcements last week for the construction of two new long term care centres to be built in New Waterford and North Sydney.

WATCH: Nova Scotia announces new health-care centre for Middleton

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Nova Scotia announces new health-care centre for Middleton – Aug 6, 2019