Nova Scotia

Inspection reports for long-term care homes now being posted online

Health Minister Randy Delorey says posting inspection reports for long-term care homes online is part of his department's effort to be transparent about what's happening within the system and how inspections take place in Nova Scotia.

The move is one of several steps by the Nova Scotia government in the wake of a resident's death last year

All licensing and inspection reports as of June 1 for long-term care homes will be posted online as they become available. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Health Minister Randy Delorey says posting inspection reports for long-term care homes online is part of his department's effort to be transparent about what's happening within the system and how inspections take place in Nova Scotia.

"Some of the concerns expressed in the past is whether or not people are comfortable with the amount of information being made available," the minister said in an interview Tuesday.

"I believe having the information available as it comes through the system is an important step in being transparent to the public."

The move this week follows a pledge from Delorey last year in the wake of the death of a long-term care resident. Chrissy Dunnington died from an infection related to an untreated pressure ulcer, or bedsore, that wasn't discovered until the wound was so big that bone was visible.

All reports since June 1 go online

All licensing and inspection reports as of June 1 will be posted online as they become available and that includes reports where there are no violations found or requirements issued. Delorey said moving to a digital process for inspections makes it much easier to upload everything, whereas the system was paper-based in the past.

Two reports have been posted online so far: the annual inspections for Mary's Abide-A-While Home in Shelburne and Taigh Na Mara Nursing Home in Glace Bay.

The report for Taigh Na Mara has nine requirements, which include ensuring:

  • Required inspections of the home and equipment are complete and documented.
  • Each resident has a daily mouth-care plan.
  • Medications are accounted for, administered and documented as per guidelines and professional standards.
  • Each resident has a plan of care.

The sole requirement for Mary's Abide-A-While Home was that "the licensee shall ensure residents' personal directives, if completed, are reviewed annually with the residents and/or authorized designates or more frequently if required to ensure their care preferences and wishes are clearly understood."

Rebuilding confidence

Following Dunnington's death in March 2018, Delorey appointed an expert panel on long-term care to find ways to improve the system and care for residents. The panel's report was delivered in January and, along with a series of recommendations, warned staffing levels at some homes had reached a crisis point.

Delorey said part of the work stemming from the panel's report, as well as the guidance in his mandate letter as minister, is "rebuilding confidence" within the system and in the public.

Along with tackling the panel's recommendations, Delorey said increased transparency should help with public confidence, which "will then breed positive results for the employees who are working in the sector."

Inspections happen without notice

The Health Department licenses and inspects 136 long-term care homes. Inspections are unannounced and happen at least twice a year for nursing homes and once a year for residential care facilities.

A Health Department spokesperson said any site found to have deficiencies must provide proof of compliance to the department once the fix is achieved.

Health Minister Randy Delorey says increased transparency should help with public confidence. (Paul Poirier/CBC)

"Facilities that are non-compliant with licensing requirements in some areas may receive a reduced-term licence while the department works with the facility to achieve compliance," Barbara MacLean wrote in an email.

"Under the Homes for Special Care Act, the minister may cancel or suspend a licence."

About the Author

Michael Gorman is a reporter in Nova Scotia whose coverage areas include Province House, rural communities, and health care. Contact him with story ideas at michael.gorman@cbc.ca

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