Health care hell

The Coast - - THIS WEEK -

Health min­is­ter Randy Delorey was in the news a few weeks ago re­spond­ing to dozens of cases of abuse doc­u­mented at long-term care homes. But de­spite what he says, the long-term care sys­tem is not work­ing. I be­lieve min­is­ter Delorey lacks em­pa­thy and is com­pletely de­tached if he be­lieves it’s OK when the el­derly and other res­i­dents are wast­ing away wait­ing for long pe­ri­ods of time in their own fe­ces to be cleaned, are sub­ject to bed sores, ex­pe­ri­ence res­i­dent-to-res­i­dent or res­i­dent-to-staff vi­o­lence, get one bath a week and face $5 a day meal bud­gets re­sult­ing in low-qual­ity nour­ish­ment. They of­ten suf­fer ne­glect and abuse, with some end­ing in death, of­ten re­sult­ing in in­ves­ti­ga­tions that never come to fruition or clo­sure for fam­i­lies. The el­derly have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing this kind of ex­is­tence for decades in long-term care fa­cil­i­ties and it looks like it will con­tinue to hap­pen de­spite the cre­ation of the Pro­tec­tion for the Peo­ple in Care Act that does not seem to have the teeth to pro­tect the el­derly for whom it is in­tended. Keep­ing peo­ple in their own homes longer is not the an­swer ei­ther. Car­ing for a loved one who has be­come se­verely dis­abled re­quires lots of time, money and en­ergy, of­ten re­sult­ing in the care­giver to be­come dis­abled them­selves, left in poverty or die. It takes an emo­tional toll. Quite of­ten fam­i­lies split up try­ing to care for a loved one. No, mis­ter min­is­ter it is not work­ing, by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion. Long-term care needs more, bet­ter trained staff and fund­ing.

— Gary MacLeod, Hal­i­fax

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