NBNU Calls for Investigation by Seniors Advocate into Care Delivery in Private Nursing Homes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FREDERICTON (July 6, 2020) – New Brunswick’s Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are calling on the Office of New Brunswick’s Seniors Advocate to investigate and report on the number of care hours being provided to residents in privatized nursing homes.
New Brunswick Nurses Union (NBNU), which represents 6900 RNs and NPs across New Brunswick, is making the request amidst an extraordinary accumulation of evidence that substandard care in privatized nursing homes is putting Canadian seniors at risk.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more Canadians are beginning to wake up to the mistakes our country has made in privatizing our long-term care systems,” said NBNU President Paula Doucet. “There is overwhelming evidence that private nursing homes prioritize profits over the health and safety of their residents, including our most vulnerable seniors, and it is crucial we understand the extent to which this is happening in New Brunswick.”
Key to NBNU’s request is a recent report conducted by the Office of the Seniors Advocate in British Columbia entitled, A Billion Reasons to Care. Among other concerns, that report found that while receiving, on average, the same level of public funding:
- Not-for-profit care homes in B.C. spend $10,000 or 24% more per year on care for each resident;
- For-profit care homes in B.C. failed to deliver 207,000 funded direct care hours;
- Not-for-profit care homes exceeded direct care hour targets by delivering an additional 80,000 hours of direct care beyond what they were publicly funded to deliver.
NBNU is calling for New Brunswick’s own Seniors Advocate to conduct a full investigation into the delivery of care hours in provincial nursing homes, so that New Brunswickers can learn the truth about the seniors care Government has purchased with their taxpayer dollars.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec have all relieved private nursing home operators of their responsibilities due to substandard delivery of care, but evidence as to the unsafe staffing levels in Canada’s private nursing homes has been accumulating for years. In 2013, a University of Alberta study revealed that residents in that province’s private homes were receiving at least one hour of care per day less than residents of publicly-funded Alberta homes.
More recently, the Ontario Health Coalition studied the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario and determined that death rates for residents of private Ontario homes were approximately double those of residents in non-profit or publicly-funded homes – findings later reinforced by an independent Toronto Star investigation.
“We must stop sweeping the truth about what’s happening in our long-term care sector under the rug,” said Doucet. “There is every reason to believe the residents in privatized nursing homes are receiving far fewer care hours than residents in non-profit homes, and as NBNU President I am calling on the Office of the Seniors Advocate to report publicly on this incredibly important issue here in New Brunswick.”
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