N.S. needs to boost long-term care facilities’ staffing levels to address ‘overstressed’ homes: expert panel

An expert panel says Nova Scotia’s Liberal government needs to quickly boost staffing at long-term care facilities to address “overstressed” homes that aren’t meeting residents’ needs.

Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey appointed the panel in September in the wake of media reports that raised questions about the quality of care in the facilities, including severe bedsores.

Panel chairwoman Janice Keefe said it’s believed there are hundreds of vacancies in the system, but the report released today doesn’t provide an exact figure on how many jobs need to be filled.

Keefe, a Mount Saint Vincent University professor, said the three-person panel believes its findings are a “first step” that should be monitored by an arms-length oversight committee.

Barbara Adams, the Tory critic for long-term care, described the report as a summary of well-known ills documented over a decade ago and recently amplified by budget cuts.

Both Adams and NDP Leader Gary Burrill said they were disappointed the report didn’t recommend a specific legislated increase in the number of hours of care per resident.

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