Nova Scotia

2 N.S. nursing homes want to hire retired workers to help deal with COVID-19 concerns

The president of two long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia is looking to hire retired workers to come in and help residents amid a likely staffing shortage that will be brought on because of COVID-19.

'Retired caregivers are certainly able to help with personal care, things like feeding and other activities'

The administrators of the Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Eastern Passage, N.S., want to hire retired nurses to help residents through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The president of two long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia is looking to hire retired workers to come in and help residents amid a likely staffing shortage that will be brought on because of COVID-19.

There are now five presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, with two announced on Monday afternoon, following three on Sunday. The elderly are the most vulnerable when it comes to contacting COVID-19.

There are 177 people who call the Ocean View Continuing Care Centre their home in Eastern Passage, while another 42 live at The Birches in Musquodoboit Harbour.

With schools closed for the next three weeks and daycare facilities also being shut down, Dion Mouland, the president and CEO of the two homes, knows he will likely lose some staff who will have to stay home to look after their families. That's one of the reasons why they are looking to bring retired nurses back to work.

"Retired caregivers are certainly able to help with personal care, things like feeding and other activities," said Mouland. "We've got staff who are doing touch-point cleaning, so we are constantly cleaning light switches and door knobs. There is always something someone can do."

Dion Mouland is the president and CEO of two long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia: Ocean View Continuing Care Centre and The Birches. (Submitted by Ocean View/The Birches)

Visitation restrictions are in place and Mouland said he knows that will be hard on families who regularly come and visit their loved ones. Technology is being used to try and connect the residents to their families.

"We've already instituted the ability to use Skype or FaceTime, so families can actually dial in through those technological advances," said Mouland.

He said some retired nurses maintain active licences . He said he's still waiting to hear from the Nova Scotia College of Nursing about getting licences renewed for retired nurses who don't have an active licence.

Mouland said they will be looking at a variety of retired workers and will look at the background and skills of each one. The plan is to match up the workers so they can perform specific tasks that align with their skill sets.

The Birches Nursing Home in Musquodoboit Harbour is shown on March 16, 2020. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

On Tuesday, the Nova Scotia College of Nursing announced it's developed an online licensing process to permit retired nurses to practise in the province. Individuals must have worked as a nurse in Nova Scotia during the last five years and have no restrictions on their previous licences, and be able to safely practise nursing. There is no application fee and eligible individuals will be able to practise for up to four months or longer, if required.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia said in a statement it's open to the idea of reinstating licences for doctors who recently retired.

"Physicians recently retired in Nova Scotia wishing to participate in the pandemic response should contact the college to determine if their licences can be reinstated for this purpose," the college said on Saturday.

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