Nova Scotia invests for safety, innovation in LTC

Organizations in the continuing care sector can start applying

Nova Scotia invests for safety, innovation in LTC
Nova Scotia is investing to improve long-term care in the province.

Nova Scotia is investing more than $3.5 million into its long-term care system.

“We are committed to doing better for Nova Scotians living in long-term care,” said Zach Churchill, minister of health and wellness. “These investments are about putting people at the centre of care with a focus on strengthening and expanding the workforce, enhancing the physical and mental well-being of individuals in long-term care and developing programs that better meet individual needs.”

Under the funding, the Health Care Human Resource Sector Council will administer $2 million for workplace safety training and educational opportunities. Meanwhile, AWARE-NS will administer about $1.5 million for the purchase of equipment that improves the safety of workers providing care.

“The department’s contributions continue to be core to VON's implementation of a new and robust safety management system. Their investment in equipment and training has had an important impact for our front line in Nova Scotia,” said Jo-Anne Poirier, president and CEO, VON Canada. “More than that, their partnership in the development of this program has been a key driver of its success over the past two years.”

Organizations in the continuing care sector can start applying today for the training fund here and the safety equipment fund here.

Three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians surveyed believe that the high number of deaths in long-term care homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner, according to a report from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) released in March.

Meeting with stakeholders

Recently, Premier Iain Rankin and Churchill met with key stakeholders to discuss investments in continuing care and gather input into sector changes.

The province set aside more than $1 billion of this year’s budget to enhance supports for residents and staff in continuing care. These programs include safety training and equipment improvements and investments including the hiring of clinical nurses to spearhead infection prevention and control efforts, primary care coverage, and the design and launch of a pilot on specialized programming for younger adults living in long-term care.

Also, more than $5 million has been committed to date to implement recommendations of Workplace Safety: Charting the Course, a 2018 report on workplace safety in Nova Scotia’s home care, long-term care and disability support sectors.

In 2019, the Minister’s Expert Panel on Long-Term Care made 22 recommendations on how to improve the quality of long-term care in the province. The province has invested $27.8 million this year to address the panel’s recommendations, and six recommendations are now complete, with work on all others underway.

Nova Scotia is also working with seniors, families and sector stakeholders in the creation of a new five-year continuing care strategy: Blueprint for Change – A Transformation of the Continuing Care Sector. The government is investing $2 million in this work.

One of the things that could help with Canada’s LTC problems is allowing people to age in their own homes by providing a cash-for-care benefit option, said Colin Busby, research director at the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), in an interview with Canadian Occupational Safety.