New Brunswick Legislature – March 14/2014

Chris Collins (LIB-Moncton East) brought forth our petition this morning in the New Brunswick Legislature and questioned Minister Dube on the Social Development admission policy. Minister Dube again completely ignored the real issue and deferred seniors to Home Care or Level 2 Special Care Homes. These options are great for seniors that need those services however we are specifically speaking about the 1000’s of seniors requiring Level 3 care in New Brunswick and would formerly have been classified as 3B and been able to live in 3B facilities. If these seniors do not have Alzheimers (about 90% of former 3B seniors) they are now assessed as 3A meaning their only care option is to remain in hospital until a nursing home bed becomes available. At a significantly higher cost to the province than the 3B facilities that could previously care of them.

Below is a video clip and transcript of Minister Dube being questioned:

March 14, 2014 Not finalized / Non finalisé le 14 mars 2014

Special Care Homes

Mr. Collins: Will the Minister of Social Development please confirm that, as a result of a policy change by the department on long-term care, only seniors diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s will be eligible for subsidy in Level 3B special care homes?

Hon. Mrs. Dubé: Thank you for the question. We have done a lot for seniors, and we will continue to do a lot for seniors because they are important.

This government announced a couple of years ago that we were going to have specialized care beds for seniors who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. We are subsidizing them as well. We are helping them as well. Actually, we have announced 704 new specialized care beds for Alzheimer’s and for dementia across this province. We are on board. We are helping them, and we are creating more beds across this province, through an RFP process, I might say. We are going to continue to help those seniors.

Mr. Collins: There are members of the audience who feel differently about that, and there are also 1,200 people who signed a petition recently who feel differently about that. Will the minister admit that the seniors diagnosed with diseases such as Parkinson’s, or with reduced capacity as a result of strokes, significant macular degeneration, or other infirmities, may also require 24-hour care? Why are they being discriminated against?

Hon. Mrs. Dubé: I can certainly assure you that all seniors have many options for care. Even those with dementia and those who are frail, whom you mentioned as well, can be served at home. We are moving ahead with a home care strategy because seniors are asking us to be taken care of at home for longer. For those who are frail, whom you mentioned, if, at some point in time, they need care, they can go to the special care homes. That is another option.

Again, for those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s, we now have specialized homes, specially trained people, and specialized and individualized plans for those seniors through our 704 beds across this province. We are subsidizing them as well. For those who need 24-7 nursing care, there is an option through the nursing homes across this province. There are options there . . .

Mr. Speaker: Time, minister.

Mr. Collins: In 2012, when the previous Minister of Social Development made the announcement, it was to free up beds in nursing homes and in hospitals. This is doing just the opposite. Is the minister not concerned that, as a result of the narrowing of the eligibility criteria, there will be more seniors on waiting lists for nursing home beds or placed in alternative level care facilities in the province’s hospitals?

Hon. Mrs. Dubé: Once more, as I said, there are a variety of options for families and for seniors. If the person does qualify for a level of service, we do subsidize that person. For example, if a person is living at home and would like to have some services, that person can pay privately. If that person does qualify for home care, we will subsidize that care. If a person is living at home, but, for some reason, would like to go to a Level 2 special care home, if that person does not qualify for Level 2, we are not going to subsidize it but the person can go there and pay privately. That is the same thing.

We do subsidize the care when a person qualifies for specific training, for specific care. We do subsidize, and we do help. There are a variety of options. We will work, again, with the Moncton caucus and with the industry. We know that there are good services there as well . . .

Mr. Speaker: Time, minister.

The entire transcript of the this Legislature session can be read here:
2014-03-14_Legislature 40 Transcript

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