Prov­ince caps do­mes­tic ser­vices for home care

Lack of clar­ity has caused pub­lic con­cern, health min­is­ter says

The Compass - - BASEBALL - BY PAUL HERRIDGE TC ME­DIA pher­ridge@south­erngazette.ca

A cap on house­hold man­age­ment hours un­der the pro­vin­cial home care pro­gram will bring New­found­land and Labrador in line with other ju­ris­dic­tions across the coun­try, Health Min­is­ter John Hag­gie said.

The pol­icy change means those du­ties will now be lim­ited to a max­i­mum of two hours a day or 14 hours a week, Hag­gie told The South­ern Gazette Thurs­day.

The change was seen to be a “sen­si­ble ra­tio­nal­iza­tion” of the ser­vice, he said.

“What we’ve done is in­tro­duce a guide­line based on our own review,” Hag­gie said.

“The av­er­age use of home­mak­ing ser­vices un­der the home sup­port pro­gram was ac­tu­ally just about two hours a day, so we thought that was the rea­son­able place to put a cap for dust­ing, clean­ing and meal prepa­ra­tion – do­mes­tic kind of ac­tiv­i­ties.

“This is not re­lated to any spe­cific care needs the client might have in terms of su­per­vi­sion or per­sonal care.”

The home care sup­port pro­gram com­pletes a review of needs and hours for all clients an­nu­ally, usu­ally through a home visit, Hag­gie said, adding the cap is be­ing in­cor­po­rated into that assess­ment.

“So it will roll out over the next lit­tle while with the idea that it’ll be com­pleted by Oct. 1 of this year for ev­ery­body who’s on home sup­port.”

Dur­ing last year’s review, it was dis­cov­ered some peo­ple were re­ceiv­ing 20 hours a day of home­mak­ing ser­vices, Hag­gie said, ac­knowl­edg­ing some of that was likely a cod­ing is­sue.

Hag­gie said it’s pos­si­ble some in­di­vid­u­als may re­quire more than the cap al­lows for house­hold man­age­ment ser­vices, and those in­stances will be re­viewed on a case-by-case ba­sis.

The cap on home­mak­ing ser­vices was brought up dur­ing last week’s coun­cil meet­ing in Grand Bank with Mayor Rex Matthews say­ing he had re­cently heard from con­cerned se­niors.

Matthews also said Bur­inGrand Bank MHA Carol Anne Ha­ley had writ­ten the min­is­ter to ex­press her own con­cerns, telling Hag­gie her of­fice had been flooded with calls.

Hag­gie said he had spo­ken to Ha­ley and clar­i­fied the process that is oc­cur­ring. The De­part­ment of Health has also been field­ing calls, he said.

“I think what’s hap­pen­ing at the mo­ment is that peo­ple are get­ting a phone call say­ing they’re hav­ing their home care hours re­viewed. I think that fact of a review makes some peo­ple ner­vous, par­tic­u­larly in light of the kind of dis­cus­sions that have gone on in the press and the me­dia around the bud­get be­ing se­vere and that kind of thing,” Hag­gie said.

“The facts of the case are this is reg­u­lar process that hap­pens each year. I think peo­ple have just got height­ened sen­si­bil­i­ties be­cause of the po­lit­i­cal back­ground and the fis­cal sit­u­a­tion were in.”

Hag­gie said a let­ter has been sent to all pro­gram work­ers to clar­ify the change with MHAs re­ceiv­ing a copy as well.

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

John Hag­gie is the pro­vin­cial min­is­ter of health and com­mu­nity ser­vices.

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