September 8th, 2020

Long-term care improvements urgent ahead of second wave of COVID-19

HALIFAX -- The NDP caucus is renewing its call for a room for every long-term care resident, as the province prepares for a second wave of coronavirus this fall. Today’s Health Committee will discuss the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have seen the effect of COVID-19 on long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia, and the residents of these facilities must be a top priority as the Liberal government prepares for a second wave of the virus,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Experts have known for a long time that multi-occupancy rooms and an insufficient number of staff in long-term care are risk factors when it comes to infection control. As we prepare for future waves of Covid-19, we cannot ignore these issues any longer.”

As part of COVID-19 recovery plans, increased staffing, and investment in new infrastructure for long-term care must be a priority. Additional restrictions on family caregivers were relaxed today to allow them to help care for residents who have gone months without sustained visits from loved ones.

“The health and wellness of many residents depends on family visits and support, but with staff stretched by budget constraints and shortages we don’t know whether long-term care facilities will be able to implement today’s change,” said NDP Health spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “COVID-19 has shone a light on the state of long-term care in Nova Scotia. We have to make the investments needed to provide the care all residents deserve.”

Today’s Health Committee was the first time MLA Kendra Coombes is able to take her seat in the legislature since being elected on March 10.

“Residents of long-term care should all be able to know they will have their own room and receive the care they need and deserve,” said NDP Seniors spokesperson and Health Committee member Kendra Coombes. “The last six months have been a very difficult time for those living in long-term care and their loved ones. As we prepare for future waves of COVID-19, we have to make investments to increase staffing and build more beds.”

The NDP continues to call for a public inquiry into the effect of the first wave of COVID-19 on long-term care in our province.