September 26th, 2019

Burrill: Increased transparency in long-term care required

HALIFAX - The NDP Caucus will introduce legislation today aimed at increasing transparency when the death of a nursing home resident is suspicious or unusual. Currently, the Medical Examiner can only call for further investigation into deaths of nursing home residents when the death occurs in a long-term care facility.

The amendment proposed by the NDP would expand this to include long-term care patients who die after being transferred to hospital.

“When there is a suspicious death among long-term care patients, the Medical Examiner should have a complete range of options for considering what went wrong, where it went wrong, and have an unhindered ability to suggest necessary reforms,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “This is a simple legislative fix that would provide comfort to grieving families who simply want answers as to what happened to their loved ones.”

Chrissy Dunnington’s death due to pressure ulcers was recently investigated by the Medical Examiner Service. The final report notes that the Medical Examiner could not consider the conditions in the nursing home where Dunnington lived.

“My sister’s condition deteriorated while she was living in a nursing home,” said Chrissy’s sister Dorothy Dunnington. “It is very troubling to me and to our family that we are still looking for answers as to what happened and how this could have gotten so bad before she was transferred to hospital.”

The NDP has proposed many solutions to the problems in long-term care, including legislated staff ratios in nursing homes and calling for more long-term care beds.