Nfld. & Labrador

Susan Sullivan explains paid family caregiver program

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is releasing more details on how its new paid family caregiver program will work.

Newfoundland and Labrador government starting pilot project in 2014

Susan Sullivan, Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister, explains the details of the government's paid family caregiver program. (CBC)

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is releasing more details on how its new paid family caregiver program will work. 

Health minister Susan Sullivan announced the program on Monday, which had been promised in the 2011 provincial election. 

Sullivan said the program will start as a pilot project in the spring of 2014, with 250 places, some earmarked for seniors, and others for those caring for people with disabilities. 

"We'll take them on a first come, first served basis and then we'll establish a waitlist after that," said Sullivan.

An official from Sullivan's office said the program will start its waitlist in March 2014, and people who have been approved for service prior to that time will not be eligible for the option. 

Sullivan said the government wants to proceed slowly because there isn't anywhere else in Canada which provides a similar program. 

The first step, said Sullivan, will be training health care staff to screen and monitor those involved in the project. 

Opposition has questions

However, Liberal health critic Andrew Parsons said he still has a lot of questions about the program. 

Liberal opposition health critic Andrew Parsons says he still has many questions about the paid family caregiver program. (CBC)

"We have no idea with the costing, we know it's 250 people, how are they going to pick them, how are they going to distribute those numbers among the health authorities," said Parsons. 

"We have no idea about staffing and I'd be remiss if we didn't note that the pilot project goes up until Election 2015. Just a coincidence, I guess." 

Parsons added that he is expecting there will be a big demand for the program. 

Sullivan said the paid caregiver program is not meant to replace the care many family members provide now. 

"It isn't our intent to pay for that care. We need to pay for that care when there's risk that care is going to break down," said Sullivan. 

Sullivan said she is encouraging families that might be interested in getting involved with the program to contact the department of health. 

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