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Nova Scotia investing $54K to assist low-income brain injury survivors

Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey addresses the audience at a bill briefing at the legislature in Halifax on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey addresses the audience at a bill briefing at the legislature in Halifax on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

The Nova Scotia government is expanding its personal alert assistance program to support more people living with brain injuries, Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey announced on Wednesday at Province House.

According to the province, government is investing $54,720 over the next three years to help low-income Nova Scotians who are 19 years or older and have been diagnosed with an acquired brain injury access personal alert devices. These devices connect the user to 911 with the push of a button in an emergency situation.

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An acquired brain injury is temporary or permanent brain damage or dysfunction caused by trauma from an external force or by a medical issue or disease.

“Today’s announcement is about supporting people with acquired brain injuries to live full and independent lives,” Delorey said in a media release. “This is a step to ensure more Nova Scotians feel comfortable and safe at home.”

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The program’s expansion is expected to help support an additional 38 Nova Scotians with an acquired brain injury each year.

People who qualify for the assistance program must be diagnosed with an acquired brain injury, earn $22,125 a year or less, live alone, have a history of falls in the last 90 days and be receiving home support or nursing.

Those who qualify will also receive $480 a year to cover the cost of the personal alert device.

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“Brain injury [is] the leading disabler of people under 40 in Nova Scotia, and this investment will help the most vulnerable in our community: low-income brain injury survivors living on their own,” said Leona Burkey, executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia.

The provincial government says the investment is part of $5 million in funding that was announced last year to support Nova Scotians living with acquired brain injuries through programming and education, including the opening of the new Peter’s Place brain injury recovery centre and community hub in May.