KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – A group of people concerned about the quality of care in Nova Scotia’s long term residences rallied at Northwood Manor in Halifax this afternoon. More care beds, more trained staff and healthier food are among their demands. Ultimately they are asking for a halt to the ongoing loss of dignity and respect for our seniors.
Earlier the Liberal government cut $8 million from Nova Scotia’s nursing home budgets, only to reinstate part of that funding prior to the election being called. That move was widely seen as an effort to mitigate bad press. Unhappy seniors and management complaining about bad food and insufficient care isn’t going to get you many votes.
“This is about the neglect that is ongoing, and it is not the fault of workers here. It’s the fault of underfunding and understaffing,” said Gary MacLeod, chair of Advocates for the Care of the Elderly (ACE), the group that organized the protest.
Bill Mont, a well known Halifax businessman who now lives at Northwood, told the Nova Scotia Advocate that budget cuts indeed made their mark on day to day operations.
“In my tower we don’t have a backup, when the lights go out there is no nurse in our tower,” said Mont, “even though there are people with crutches among the residents. We need a nurse on duty, and if the government should pay a little extra for that, than so be it.”
“I cook my own food, but I hear the stories about the food. We almost lost our hairdresser here, and I here rumors that they may have to cut out our magazine,” Mont said.
Also at the rally was Ellen Rudderham-Gaudet, who in an earlier story told the Nova Scotia Advocate about her mother’s horrific ordeal once she moved into a Halifax long term care residence.
“No matter how much money the politicians offer up, if there is no accountability, no monitoring of what is happening at the nursing homes we are still no further ahead,” said Rudderham-Gaudet. “There is the Protection of Persons in Care Act, but I don’t think there is whole lot of acting.”
“We did a Freedom of Information request, and we found that only 20 percent of initial complaints are followed up on. They do a superficial check, talk to an administrator of the nursing home, and then they are satisfied that all is fine,” said Rudderham-Gaudet.
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