N.S. spending $2.5 million to address bedsores at care homes

Nova Scotia has announced more than $2.5 million to address bedsore issues at long-term care homes in the province.

The move follows a series of media reports raising questions about the quality of care, including the death of Chrissy Dunnington, a 40-year-old Halifax woman with an infected bedsore.

The province said the money announced Thursday will help staff prevent and manage pressure injuries.

It will give care facilities quicker access to equipment like special air mattresses and pressure redistribution cushions, as well as buy 209 ceiling lifts to help workers move residents more safely.

“We are committed to improving the quality of care in homes across the province,” Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey said in a statement.

There are about 6,900 nursing home beds and 900 residential care beds in Nova Scotia that serve about 11,000 people each year.

In response to reports about Dunnington’s death, the province confirmed in June 2018 there were then more than 150 nursing-home residents suffering from serious bedsores. The wounds were designated Stage 3 and Stage 4, which are the most severe injuries. Another 400 less-severe cases were also noted.

The Tories said they had proposed similar measures to what the Liberals announced Thursday in legislation last year.

“This was the right thing to do when the PC caucus introduced the bill and it’s still the right thing to do now,” said Chris d’Entremont, a Tory member of the legislature, in a statement.

“I am pleased the Liberals have decided to make these much needed changes.”

The NDP said the funding is good news, but will not solve staffing issues in long term care.

“Long-term care workers and administrators tell us they are chronically short-staffed and do not have the resources to care for an increasingly frail population of residents,” NDP Leader Gary Burrill said in a statement.

“The Liberal government should restore the $5 million they cut from nursing home budgets and implement staffing ratios so that our seniors get the care they deserve.”

The Liberal government also said Thursday it will release more data around the long-term care sector, including bedsore numbers and inspection reports.

Halifax police investigated Dunnington’s death for possible criminal negligence after her family raised concerns about her care.

Her family has said she was transported to hospital with an infected bedsore and died in hospital about eight weeks later. They said Dunnington, who was in a wheelchair due to her spina bifida and hydrocephalus, stayed still for long periods of time.

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