Healthcare Media release

Media release: Much ado about nothing budget for long-term care

The ACE (Advocates for the Care of the Elderly) Team says that the McNeil government is pretending in its 2020-21 Budget that long-term care is a priority, but really only taking very limited steps to address the very real crisis in care that has been continuing for many years.

“Yes,” according to ACE Team Chair Gary MacLeod, “there is an additional $5.3 million added to ‘enhance long-term care, and an additional $1 million to help with repairs and maintenance. But realistically how far can this new money go to address years of chronic underfunding and understaffing in nursing homes.  At this point, there appears to be no clear plan or strategy on how that money is to be used. This truly is ‘much ado about nothing’.”

“We were hoping there would be a clear plan and funding commitment to end five-dollar a day meal allowances in nursing homes, one bath a week, one diaper change per day, persistent bed sores, widespread reports of alleged abuse, and instances of people being denied admission or re-admission to nursing homes if they do not have a family doctor”. Instead, we got some very limited funding increases with no clear plan of how to move ahead.”

MacLeod said they were also concerned about the lack of an updated plan on progress for implementing the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel whose recommendations came out in January 2019, and about the lack of substantive investments or leadership necessary to move forward with them. He also noted that there was nothing in the Capital Budget to help build new, long overdue facilities and develop new beds.

He further asked where the long-promised Five-Year Continuing Care Strategy or Blueprint has gone.  “This government has yet to admit there is a serious crisis in long-term care, or to work closely with everyone concerned to implement the long-overdue directions and solutions needed.”

The ACE Team was started in 2006. It is composed of concerned family members who are appalled by the deteriorating quality of care in nursing homes, and who want to improve the overall standard of living for the elderly.