Not Just Northwood

The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

CARP NS (formerly the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) has been calling for a full Inquiry into long term care facilities. A review focusing on Northwood is unfair to Northwood and ignores the fact that many larger LTC facilities in Nova Scotia face the same problems. Northwood was the unfortunate facility that drew the “short straw” this time.

The government cut funds for LTC facilities. This resulted in some facilities even having to cut back on food budgets.

Because there has been an increased emphasis on home care, the result has been more older adults who require much more care moving into LTC facilities, but the government has not provided the additional staff to handle the increased medical and care load.

The government’s moratorium on replacement of or new facilities prevented the upgrade of older facilities, so they still have shared rooms and/or shared bathrooms which also allows for the spread of infections.

This is a failure of the system because of inadequate government action. It is not a failure of Northwood.

Experts assure we are bound to have a second wave of COVID-19. Unless we upgrade the LTC staff recruitment, training, equipment, community support and facilities, we will not be able to avoid the tragedies that happened in other provinces.

A review of Northwood is insufficient. We need an inquiry and a LTC plan for the entire province.

Bill VanGorder, Halifax, Vicechair, CARP National Board of Directors

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