Nova Scotia

Ottawa provides $27M for long-term care as province, feds talk national standards

Few sectors have felt the brunt of COVID-19 like long-term care, but a long-term care administrator says it feels like governments finally understand the importance of the sector and that it needs more help.

N.S. seniors minister says new standards must come with new financial support

Barbara Adams is Nova Scotia's minister of seniors and long-term care. (CBC)

Few sectors have felt the brunt of COVID-19 like long-term care, but Janet Simm says it feels like governments finally understand the importance of the sector and that it needs more help.

Simm, the CEO of Shoreham Village in Chester, N.S., was on hand outside the facility on Thursday as federal and provincial politicians gathered for news that Ottawa is transferring $27 million to Nova Scotia through the safe long-term care fund.

Among other things, the money is going toward the cost of 340 long-term care assistants and equipment related to infectious disease prevention and control. The provincial government already started spending on those items, knowing money from Ottawa would be coming.

Simm said recent government funding for the sector amounts to a recognition that long-term care is a unique and important part of the health-care system, "as opposed to an afterthought."

"It is a very important role that we play," she said in an interview. "This is where people live, so it has to be a home-like environment."

'Silver lining'

It's been vital, she said, to acknowledge the strain felt by residents who haven't had regular access to the outside world amid public health lockdowns, and finding ways to address that during the last two years.

"That kind of understanding, I think if there's any silver lining in COVID-19, those are the kind of things that have been brought to the surface."

In making the announcement, federal immigration minister and Nova Scotia MP Sean Fraser said talks continue between federal and provincial governments on national long-term care standards and ways to get more funding to provinces willing to abide by those standards.

Barb Adams, Nova Scotia's minister of seniors and long-term care, said her government supports national standards, but provinces need the funding to be able to meet them.

"We're in favour of the standards being set, but we also know that they have to be realistic and they have to be funded and the federal government is going to have to increase that funding," she said following the news conference.

Adams said the long-term care assistants, which helped free up time for front-line workers to provide more personal care for residents, will remain in place because of what a difference they've made in homes.

It's another step in trying to bolster the sector, she said, an effort that in recent weeks and months has included a wage increase for continuing care assistants and free tuition for 2,000 people training to become CCAs.



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