N.S. government has announced 27 projects that will create or improve more than 2,800 long-term care beds

Kendra Baldwin, CEO of Maple Hill Manor in New Waterford, N.S., says provincial funding will enable residents to have their own rooms and eliminate the need to share washrooms. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

 

Those in Nova Scotia’s long-term care industry say new funding for facility renovations and construction is long overdue and will help reduce the spread of infections in the institutions.This week, the province said it would borrow up to $1.8 billion to build or renovate 24 of 27 long-term care homes. The remaining three projects have funding already in place. Many of the improvements will mean residents no longer have to share a room with someone else, or share a washroom with up to three other residents.”If COVID taught us anything, it taught us that that’s not acceptable,” said Kendra Baldwin, CEO of Maple Hill Manor in New Waterford. “Our residents deserve better standards of living.”The 63-bed Maple Hill Manor is one of the facilities approved for new construction.It will be expanded to 64 beds, but the biggest change will be the elimination of semi-private rooms and shared washrooms, Baldwin said. Read more!

Province says residents can have 2 designated caregivers, but few homes have staffing to screen them

Many people who live in long-term care homes in Nova Scotia won’t be able to see friends or family who are not designated caregivers until at least Jan. 17. (The Associated Press)

Nova Scotia is recommending long-term care homes close to visitors Friday to try and limit the spread of COVID-19.

The province said residents should instead be allowed two designated caregivers, up from one, who must visit at separate times.

But an organization that represents 77 nursing homes in the province said many facilities don’t have enough staff to screen designated caregivers for COVID-19 and admit them.

Michele Lowe, the executive director of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association, said many facilities stopped letting visitors in before Christmas and over the break.

“Being able to welcome back our two designated caregivers versus the one, that’s really significant. We know the impact of keeping folks in isolation, and our folks deserve better,” Lowe said Thursday.

Screening and testing

But she said that will only happen if the short-staffed care homes can find staff to monitor incoming caregivers.

“Your focus is on the care and well-being of residents. And unfortunately it means you don’t have staff who can sit at the door and do this screening protocol and the testing, because that does take a lot of resources,” she said.

Restrictions placed on long-term care homes have changed over the course of the pandemic, as COVID-19 case counts have risen and fallen. Visitors were barred during the first wave in 2020.

The Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care said this week it is “strongly recommending” that long-term care facilities close to visitors Friday at 6 a.m. The government said it will consider letting visitors back in on Jan. 17.

“Two designated caregivers per resident should still be allowed to visit so they can provide physical and mental support,” the department said.

The province also said Thursday it may allow “some flexibility” on the isolation periods required for long-term care workers who are close contacts but have no symptoms of COVID-19.

Those staff may be allowed to return to work before the standard 10-day isolation period has ended, but that is based on a risk assessment at the facility where they work, and in consultation with public health and occupational health and safety teams.

“Frequent testing is required and there are extra precautions in place within long-term care facilities to prevent transmission within this vulnerable population,” said a statement.

‘Isolation leads to depression’

Joyce D’Entremont, the CEO of Mountains and Meadows Care Group, which has facilities in Bridgetown and Yarmouth, said her care homes have already stopped letting in visitors.

In normal times, up to 100 people a day will visit loved ones. The Yarmouth facility, Harbourside Lodge, has had one staff member and one resident test positive for COVID-19.

She said the homes are already struggling to find staffing, as so many people are isolating after a close-contact notice.

“It’s certainly causing even more of the challenges that we were already having,” she said.

She supports the changes recommended by the province, as it eases the burden on staff to screen visitors.

“Seeing their families is a big part of their life here and their mental health. Isolation leads to depression,” she said. “We have to be very careful that we balance risk, with the risk of our residents getting sick.”

She said many homes are short-staffed as it is, and won’t be able to spare someone to screen designated caregivers.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-urges-long-term-care-homes-to-bar-visitors-again-due-to-covid-19-1.6306309

 

Seniors and Long-Term Care

The Province is investing about $57 million to support those working in continuing care, add more staff and open more beds more quickly to seniors waiting for long-term care.

Investments are aimed at hiring additional continuing care assistants and improving working conditions, improving care for seniors, and making empty beds in other facilities available to seniors.

“Seniors deserve dignity, and we will make sure that the supports are in place to care for them and give them what they need as they age,” said Premier Tim Houston. “They have given us so much, and it’s our turn to take care of them. Our vision for the future is twofold – a modern system that meets the needs of seniors and a skilled workforce to provide the care and support that seniors need. These investments will help us do just that.”

The single biggest investment is $22 million over the next two years to cover 100 per cent of tuition costs for over 2,000 students in continuing care assistant programs. Students will have the option of taking full- or part-time studies or participating in a new ‘work and learn’ training program that allows them to earn money while learning. Students in the new program will be in the workforce starting in February.

Other human resources investments in the next two and a half years include:

  • $8 million to provide long-term care homes with funding to offer their casual and part-time employees full-time positions or to hire more staff to provide direct care
  • $3.1 million to hire temporary staff through employment agencies while the Province builds a larger workforce
  • $3.1 million in tuition rebates for current continuing care assistant students
  • $2.1 million to recruit continuing care assistants nationally and internationally
  • $1.4 million to improve staff scheduling and delivery of care
  • $1.3 million to increase professional development opportunities for staff
  • $1.3 million to attract workers to parts of the province where staffing is the most challenging
  • $630,000 to double the number of people (to 600) having their prior skills and experience recognized so they can apply for the many available positions in continuing care
  • $466,000 to provide injured or ill employees access to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work services and psychological services.

Investments over the next two and a half years to make more beds available to seniors waiting for long-term care include:

  • $6.1 million to convert and license beds in residential care facilities and assisted living facilities to nursing home level care
  • $5.9 million to license and fund 30 Veterans Affairs Canada beds for Nova Scotians who need them
  • $1.8 million to extend an agreement with Shannex and the Sisters of Charity to keep 23 temporary nursing home beds open for another year.

Quotes:

There are hundreds of elderly parents and grandparents in hospital waiting for a bed in a long-term care home and even more waiting in community. These investments will help seniors get the care they deserve and alleviate pressures in other areas of the healthcare system. These are first steps and just part of our commitment to improving the continuing care system for employees and seniors needing care.Barbara AdamsMinister of Seniors and Long-Term Care

Our members are committed to ensuring that seniors receive safe, reliable, and high-quality care in the place they call home. Having sufficient human resources and ensuring that staff have a quality of work life that is meaningful and rewarding is essential to meeting this goal of continuing care excellence. Today’s announcements are exceptionally welcome news and represent another step forward in promoting positive change in Nova Scotia’s continuing care sector. We look forward to our continued partnership with the government in supporting implementation of many of these important initiatives.Mary LeePresident and CEOHealth Association of Nova Scotia

CBBC Career College is excited to be part of this critical training initiative announced here today. Since 1958, we have helped transform the lives of thousands of graduates across Nova Scotia. The unique CCA delivery model designed by the college will introduce students to the career of continuing care assistant while they train. This early exposure will help new graduates integrate quickly into the career and will ultimately help address the staff shortages currently experienced across the entire provincial health sector.Henry DevlinPresident and CEOCBBC Career College

Working as a continuing care assistant is so rewarding. The simplest of things like making someone a cup of tea can hugely impact their day. I have always thought of this line of work as bridging the gap between dependence and independence. We are there to make our clients’ lives as easy for them as possible while maintaining their dignity. Today’s investments show that our provincial government recognizes just how important and needed CCAs are in our healthcare system, as well as in the lives of those we care for daily.Tori Jacksoncontinuing care assistant and Nova Scotia Community College graduate

Quick Facts:

  • hiring more healthcare workers is a key government commitment and part of the Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister’s mandate
  • in addition to doctors and nurses, the government has committed to hiring 1,400 additional continuing care assistants
  • the government is also continuing work to renovate and build 2,500 new single-bed rooms over the next three years

Additional Resources:

The overview document A Healthy Nova Scotia: Solutions for Continuing Care is available at: https://beta.novascotia.ca/documents/improving-continuing-care-investments-support-workers-and-expand-care-seniors

Mandate letter of the Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-SLTC.pdf

16 long-term care homes in the province have stopped taking new residents

Continuing care assistants Kamal Kaur, left, and Sherlyn Monteroso, right, help resident Hilary Wellard at St. Vincent’s Nursing Home in Halifax on Monday. St. Vincent’s was the site of a provincial government announcement about recruitment of new care workers. (Communications Nova Scotia)More than one in every 10 nursing homes in Nova Scotia have closed their doors to new admissions because of staffing shortages.The province provided the latest figures to CBC News upon request following an announcement this week that it plans to invest $1.7 million into recruitment and retention efforts for the continuing care sector.

As of Nov. 1, 16 long-term care homes had paused admissions due to staffing levels. According to a provincial directory, there are 134 licensed long-term care facilities provincewide with a total of about 8,000 beds.

A spokesperson for the Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care said the province is working with the affected facilities to assess their needs and provide support.

Michele Lowe, executive director of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association, which represents about half the homes in the province, said the decision to refuse new residents is not taken lightly.

“There isn’t an administrator in the province who wants to pause admissions,” said Lowe. “We all know that elders who are assessed to be in long-term care, need to be in long-term care. It’s specialty care and that’s where they need to be.”

Continue care assistant Doreen Patten chats with a resident of St. Vincent’s Nursing Home. (Communications Nova Scotia)

CBC reported in September that some homes had started to refuse new residents because they were short-staffed. At that time, four homes were affected.

Many homes in Nova Scotia kept some beds vacant early in the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent viral spread, but the previous Liberal government eventually told them to return to full capacity or lose funding.

Barbara Adams, minister of seniors and long-term care in the new PC government, said funding has not changed for homes with vacancies, under the current circumstances.

“We are hopeful that if we can ensure that there’s sufficient staffing that those beds will be able to be reopened as soon as possible,” she told CBC News Tuesday.

Barbara Adams, minister of seniors and long-term care, announced a new recruitment initiative at an event outside St. Vincent’s on Monday. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Lowe said long-term care administrators began to worry this spring they might eventually need to stop admitting new residents, and were looking for guidance on making such a decision.

The association looked across the country for guiding documents on the topic and found none, so it developed its own, which Lowe calls “a framework to avoid bed closures.”

She said the framework was shared with administrators in September, so they’re now all able to follow the same list of criteria to determine whether they’ve reached a critical enough state to justify closing beds.

The framework lays out factors that indicate whether a home is in the “yellow zone,” meaning it’s very close to being at the point of having to close admissions, or the “red zone,” meaning the home has reached the critical point where no new residents can be accepted.

As an example, Lowe said a home that’s regularly pulling staff from other departments (including managers and administrators) to help feed residents during mealtimes is in the yellow zone. A home that has maxed out its ability to pull staff from other departments to help with key aspects of care is in the red zone.

Shortfall of at least 589 continuing care assistants

On Monday, the province announced a recruitment and retention strategy for long-term care and home care staff — in particular continuing care assistants (CCAs). Six recruiters are being hired to attract new workers, locally and abroad.

In Nova Scotia, like many other jurisdictions, there are too few CCAs.

Michele Lowe is the executive director of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association. (CBC)

Long-term care homes and home-care agencies recently reported 589 CCA vacancies in a survey conducted by the province. That figure is likely an underestimate, as not all facilities and agencies responded.

Lowe called the new recruitment and retention strategy a “fantastic initiative,” and one that the industry has been asking for for several years. But she doesn’t think the plan goes quite far enough. She said wages for CCAs have to go up to make any recruitment efforts successful.

The call for better wages and benefits has been a common refrain from industry groups and union leaders in Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union reiterated that call Monday in response to the recruitment and retention strategy. It also called for the province to legislate a minimum of 4.1 hours of daily care per resident.

The Progressive Conservatives have promised to turn that staffing ratio into law, but Adams said it likely will not happen until next spring to give recruiters time to make up some of the current staffing shortfall.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/nova-scotia-long-term-care-admissions-freeze-staff-shortage-continue-care-assistants-1.6233955

NOVA SCOTIA – The Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association (NHNSA) and the School of Health Administration in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University are pleased to announce the launch of a six-day certificate program, Leadership in
Continuing Care Administration for new administrators and senior leaders in the Continuing Care sector.

Developed with strong sector leader and industry expert input, this is a first of its kind in Nova Scotia. Students will expand their professional knowledge, enhance their leadership capabilities and improve their operational acumen for future challenges and
opportunities.

“We have many talented administrators and senior staff retiring from our sector over the coming five years so building capacity among our emerging leaders is critical” said Michele Lowe, Executive Director for the NHNSA. “This education will support their
succession planning and provide managers who want to transition to new leadership roles with the foundational knowledge to move forward in their careers.”

The six-day program will be offered in two three-day blocks beginning on November 17,2021. For details and registrations visit the Dalhousie web site:

https://www.dal.ca/faculty/health/health-administration/programs/executive-leadership/Continuing-Care-Certificate.html https://www.dal.ca/academics/programs/graduate/health-administration/programdetails/master-program/Leadership-in-Continuing-Care-Administration.html

 

“Health leaders today face tough challenges and leaders in the Continuing Care sector are no exception”  says Dr. Tanya Packer, Director of the School of Health Administration. “This intensive, executive style certificate blends academic rigor with
extensive front-line expertise to provide our Nova Scotia continuing care leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully meet those challenges.”

Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association is committed to building solutions to ensure the highest standards of care for nursing homes in Nova Scotia. The association believes in advocating and leading to influence change.

For 40 years, the School of Health Administration at Dalhousie has been driving change in healthcare leadership and administration. Through outstanding teaching, world-class research and carefully cultivated connections with the communities we serve, the School has had an enduring impact on the healthcare sector in Nova Scotia, across Canada, and around the world. We are part of the Faculty of Health, one of the largest faculties at Dalhousie, comprised of eight schools, one college and one program and the largest health professional workforce provider in Atlantic Canada.

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Saltwire

NHNSA board chairwoman says time has come to talk about people, not beds

KENTVILLE, N.S. — It’s time to stop talking about beds and institutions and to start talking about people and homes when it comes to long-term care in Nova Scotia.

This is the position of the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association (NHNSA), which has launched It’s Our Turn, a provincial communications campaign involving lawn signs.

The association is calling on political candidates across the province, from all parties, “to address the critical issues facing long-term care in Nova Scotia and to commit to a collective will and collaboration to make this transformation happen.”

“If we could get the collective will to make Nova Scotia long-term care world class, we have all of the elements,” NHNSA board chairwoman Susan MacDougall said.

“We need to change the language, we need to realize that it’s not going to be a cheap fix, but it can be the right fix. We can build the right solutions that our seniors deserve.” …continued

When the writ drops, the association wants to remind people that long-term care needs help.

Lindsay Armstrong | The Coast | July 16, 2021“As a province we need to think differently and completely reform the way we develop senior care,” said Michele Lowe of Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia. - SUBMITTED

When election signs hit Nova Scotian lawns, so will campaign signs from the Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia Association. The organization is calling for a ministerial portfolio of continuing care and highlighting “issues that have been facing long-term care for decades.” click to enlarge “As a province we need to think differently and completely reform the way we develop senior care,” said Michele Lowe of Nursing Homes of Nova Scotia.

Michele Lowe, executive director with the nonpartisan NHNSA, said in an interview the association planned its own election campaign in order to pressure political candidates from all parties to address the continuing care sector, which is “screaming for attention.” The hope is that the signs will encourage Nova Scotians to ask their representatives how they will support the sector, which has about 1,300 residents waiting for nursing home beds. “As a province we need to think differently and completely reform the way we develop senior care,” Lowe said in an interview Friday. “That’s why we’ve asked for a minister portfolio just for continuing care, we get lost in the structure with acute care.”

Following Saturday morning’s election call, Liberal leader Iain Rankin said he is not considering the addition of a separate portfolio for continuing care. “No, we’ve eclipsed a billion dollars in that area,” Rankin said in a scrum Saturday morning.

“We see it as a priority, we’ve made investments in home care, which has increased every year. We made historic investments in long term care… we’re going to continue to make those investments within the department of health and wellness.” Lowe said she’s hopeful that with the addition of a specific portfolio for continuing care, organizations like the NHNSA will have a better chance of being involved in nursing home infrastructure consultation. Lowe was pleased with Friday’s $905 million investment to add 64 new beds by 2027, but was surprised to hear it announced.

“We were thinking, Wait just a minute, we were not a part of that. How can you create a plan for long-term care when the very people who are a part of that plan have not been contributing?” she said. This is the second of two major long-term care infrastructure plans this year. In January, the province announced it would add 236 beds, which are expected to be ready sometime in 2024 or 2025. The NHNSA was not consulted in these plans either, Lowe said.

Lowe does not believe the province’s recent efforts go far enough or move quickly enough to give the sector the support it needs. “We want to be able to plan and position ourselves for the future, and we need to address the immediate needs of right now. With the 236 beds three or four years out, that’s not helping us or the waitlist right now,” she said. Lowe says the pandemic was an “ah ha” moment for many to realize how neglected the continuing care sector has been in Nova Scotia. Long-term care has been under the microscope following the high number of COVID-19 deaths occurring in provincial homes, particularly Northwood in Halifax where 53 people died. Repeated calls were made for public inquiry into the outbreak, but instead the province called for a review under the province’s Quality-improvement Information Protection Act which meant only recommendations were made public—permanently keeping findings from the investigation under wraps.

Read more at: https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/nursing-homes-of-ns-is-launching-its-own-election-campaign/Content?oid=26799029


Read more at: https://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/nursing-homes-of-ns-is-launching-its-own-election-campaign/Content?oid=26799029

Susan Hayes, the chief executive officer at the Windsor Elms Village, is looking forward to seeing the results from an in-depth 18-month study on far-UVC light being conducted at the Falmouth-based long-term care facility.
Susan Hayes, the chief executive officer at the Windsor Elms Village, is looking forward to seeing the results from an in-depth 18-month study on far-UVC light being conducted at the Falmouth-based long-term care facility. – Contributed

Scientists want to know if far-UVC light cuts airborne transmission of influenza-like illnesses, respiratory infections and COVID-19 in long-term care

FALMOUTH, N.S. —  Two Nova Scotia nursing homes are about to take part in an 18-month study to help researchers determine if ultraviolet light reduces illness.

With Nova Scotia having the highest per capita population of seniors in the country, researchers say investing in solutions to help long-term care facilities is an important healthy aging strategy here and around the world.

“The pandemic has had a particular impact on older adults, especially those with underlying health conditions,” said lead researcher Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, with Nova Scotia Health’s division of geriatric medicine, in a press release.

“We want to see if far-UVC light can kill airborne viral transmissions, including the SARS CoV-2 virus, in long-term care facilities.”

Northwood’s Halifax campus and Windsor Elms Village in Falmouth are both taking part in the study. The researchers hope to determine if the rates of influenza-like illnesses and respiratory infections decrease due to the far-UVC light…continued

Dr. Lisa Barrett is an expert in infectious disease and human immunology. (CBC)

Study will have ‘huge implications’ beyond COVID-19, infectious disease expert says

Why do some long-term care residents who contract COVID-19 become seriously ill and die, while others show just mild symptoms, or none at all?

That’s a question one of Nova Scotia’s top infectious disease experts is looking to answer with a study that’s currently underway.

“We know very little about immune systems in older adults — not just in Canada, but in the world,” said Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease researcher and clinician at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

“They are a very under-studied population of people, and therefore this particular study allows us to really get in there and understand immune responses to a brand new pathogen, or virus, that these folks have never seen before.” … continued

Valentine days come and go but unshakable love endures | Pictou-County | Communities | The Chronicle Herald

 

Valentine days come and go but unshakable love endures

Joy and Junior MacLean have been married for more than 55 years.
Joy and Junior MacLean have been married for more than 55 years. They are pictured in this photo taken prior to COVID. – Contributed
By Kim Dickson

NEW GLASGOW – Joy and Junior MacLean are what Maritimers call the salt of the earth. This lovely, kind and unassuming couple raised their family of three sons and one daughter in Merigomish, along the Shore Road of Pictou County and their love is as evident now as it was on their wedding day almost 56 years ago. Junior has been a resident of Glen Haven Manor for the past five years and before the pandemic Joy was a daily visitor well known to staff for her gentle manner, friendly personality and warm smile.

Daily visits that were once a given, have since turned into regular weekly or bi-weekly ones, during the pandemic but the MacLeans’ love still burns bright and strong. Joy tells the story of last April when she and Junior were to have their 55th anniversary but couldn’t be together, how the leadership team and staff at Glen Haven went beyond the call of duty to make the day was a very special one. Because of the extraordinary milestone, an exception was allowed where Joy, accompanied by her sons Barry and Jeff, enjoyed a specially authorized window visit with Junior to mark the occasion. A window was decorated with hearts and congratulations by Glen Haven staff and Junior taken to that window with a great view to be able to see his wife and two sons as the three looked up at him from outside, brimming with excitement and affection. Joy says she felt just like that bride of five decades ago while they blew kisses and revelled in the moment just to be able to look into each other’s eyes. “I don’t know how I could ever repay them for turning the day into something so special,” she said with her voice quivering with emotion. Joy also mentions that their daughter Janice was unable to be there for the window visit but that they were also thinking of her and wishing she too was there to be part of a moment that will be long remembered. The first indoor visits of the pandemic and long-awaited hugs back in July also hold a special place in Joy’s heart as she and Junior welcomed that yet another historic day.

When asked about their wedding day, Joy recalls it was cold and windy just like the day of their 55th anniversary but also says that the weather did not deter them from it being a great celebration, full of fun. The wedding ceremony was held in the First Presbyterian Church in New Glasgow, the town where Joy grew up, and the reception for 50 guests took place in the church hall. In those days, she says this was considered quite a big reception

Joy and Junior are very proud of their children as well as the careers they chose with all four having done well in a variety of areas, from the lumber, manufacturing and wholesales industries to office administration.

She is quick to mention that their two grandsons and two granddaughters are a great source of pride and joy. Joy also beams when telling the family is very excited to mark the graduation of their oldest grandchild, Andrew, from veterinary school this spring.

Joy herself had a successful career as a bookkeeper, working for companies such as the Moore Brothers, the lobster factory in Lismore when it was owned by Nickerson’s and also for Senior Care.

Junior too had a career marked by success as production manager and running the press for The Evening News in New Glasgow for 28 years and for a few years after The News scaled back on local production, he worked with Sam’s Pizza in Trenton.

Joy and Junior have had much happiness and wonderful memories over the years and have relied on each other as they also endured immense grief with the loss of their oldest son, Steven, at the age of only 46, which Joy says was without a doubt the hardest time for their family.

Joy is now living in the north end of New Glasgow, back to her childhood roots, but says she always holds a special place in her heart for Merigomish where she and Junior spent the busy days with their sons and daughter and all that entails – early mornings in rinks for both hockey and ringette, at the ball field and of course swimming all summer long and making hay.

Junior also enjoyed the game of curling, so there were many outings connected with that for the two in between family outings and commitments, while Joy not only taught Sunday School and CGIT but also was very involved in the Merigomish community association.

The MacLeans were always at the heart of what was happening in their community and enjoyed every minute of those times.

Joy remarks on how quickly the years have flown by and said she remembers her mother saying the same thing.

Valentine’s days for the MacLeans were marked with the occasional special dinner out, a nice card here or there and in recent years the Sweetheart’s Dinner at Glen Haven.

More important to them was every ordinary day. When asked what makes for a long and happy marriage, Joy has the answer. “Appreciate the good times, have a good rapport with each other and don’t take each other for granted.”

It is clear Joy and Junior have long held a magic key to the triumph of an unshakable love.

 

TAGLINE: Kim Dickson is director of communications for Glen Haven Manor.