Category Archives: Newspaper/Media Articles

N.B. doctors speak out on severe overcrowding in hospitals, calling it “inhumane”

Above watch: Doctors at hospitals across the province spoke out today on the severe overcrowding they are seeing everyday and want the government to react. Alex Abdelwahab reports.

MONCTON – Doctors at several Horizon Health Network hospital in the province are raising concerns over severe overcrowding they say they see every day.

In a letter addressed to Health Minister Victor Boudreau, Minister of Social Development Cathy Rogers, and the board of directors and executive of Horizon Health, medical staff wrote that they wanted “to voice the concerns of our physicians regarding the “the overcapacity situation” in our acute care hospitals.

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Horizon doctors plead for action on hospital congestion

hospital overcrowdingDoctors at the five largest hospitals in Horizon Health Network say the hospitals are operating “in a state of overcapacity gridlock” and are demanding the health authority and provincial government do something to ease the stress within the system.

They make 6 key points to resolve the issue. First amongst them is:

“Reverse the policy on specialized care beds so seniors with physical problems, and not just dementia, have access to them.”

This is the issue we’ve been trying to work on for the last couple years. We hope someone is finally ready to listen.

Nursing home group calls for long-term care act

CHRIS MORRIS Legislature Bureau – Telegraph-Journal

January 14, 2015
FREDERICTON • People involved in long-term care in New Brunswick say big changes are needed to avoid the kind of log jams caused by the growing number of seniors waiting for openings in nursing homes.

Physicians, nursing home officials and special care home operators all expressed concern on Wednesday about the province’s failure to address the problem of elderly people languishing in hospitals and bogging down the health-care system when they should be in long-term care facilities.

The Health Department says there are more than 400 elderly people waiting in New Brunswick hospitals for beds in nursing homes.

“We’re behind the eight ball,” said Jodi Hall, director of operations for the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes.

“We have known that the province’s demographics were changing for the past 30 years, and there just wasn’t the planning put in place for it … Now it has become critical. As soon as we are able, we need to put systems in place that will allow us to adapt to the realities of our aging population and support people where they want to be.”

The nursing home association has released a report it circulated earlier to elected politicians calling for, among other things, the creation of a Long Term Care Act to replace out-of-date nursing home legislation, and a new strategy to lure more workers into homes.

Amy Klassen, who owns and operates the McNair Manor special care homes in the Moncton area, said New Brunswick’s long-term care system has been held back by overly complex bureaucratic policies.

The province has an array of levels used to place seniors in care facilities and decide how much public subsidization they can receive.

“I think we over-complicate things with the layering of policies,” Klassen said.

“It shouldn’t be so complex: You take a patient, you understand how much care they require … and you offer subsidization based on care requirements. It’s not based on diagnosis or personal opinion but on the hours of care required.”

Klassen is unhappy about the province’s lack of consultation with special care home operators.

She also is angry over a bureaucratic change to the Level 3B admission criteria, which has effectively excluded many seniors who need subsidized care.

“The new 3B admission criteria eliminated access to the beds to 50 per cent of the former residents,” Klassen said. “So while simultaneously trying to grow the program, the admission criteria was narrowed. Therefore, the queue for nursing homes is longer.”

In 2012, the previous Tory government quietly added the requirement that level 3B seniors had to have advanced dementia, in addition to other medical needs. The Tories also said they would add about 700 special care home beds, but Klassen said only about 100 have been put in place so far.

New Brunswick physicians also are speaking out about the issue.

This week, Dr. Ben Hoyt, chief of surgery at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, said 36 non-emergency surgeries have been cancelled since September because there are too many seniors waiting for nursing home beds in the hospital.

“Since September, we’ve seen an increasing need to cancel scheduled surgeries because there’s no place for patients to go post-operatively,” Hoyt said, adding there are 92 elderly patients waiting at the Chalmers for long-term care placements.

Dr. Camille Haddad, president of the New Brunswick Medical Society, said Hoyt is not the only concerned doctor.

“Doctors are very serious about the issues associated with seniors who are stuck in hospitals when they don’t medically need to be there,” Haddad said.

“This issue needs action … Doctors have delivered over a dozen different ideas to government over the last several years on how to fix this issue, as no one idea will do. Building nursing homes is not a popular suggestion but is a necessity.”

Haddad said he is encouraged by Health Minister Victor Boudreau’s promise to take serious policy issues to address the issue.

On Wednesday, Boudreau said the problem of lack of long-term care beds is not new, and the province is trying to deal with it.

“For quite some time now, we’ve had a considerable number of seniors in hospital beds across the province that have been medically discharged but simply can’t leave the hospital until there are adequate services in their community, whether that be home care, special care bed, nursing home,” Boudreau said in an interview.

“It does certainly cause a stress on the system.”

Boudreau said the Health Department and the Department of Social Development, which is responsible for nursing homes, are working on the problem.

“There’s no easy solution,” he said.

“But I think we are going to have to look at the services that are provided in the communities.”

That includes nursing homes, specialized care homes and home support services, said Boudreau.

“There’s a plan out there to construct new nursing home beds as well, but obviously a nursing home bed doesn’t fall from the sky,” he said.

The new government has committed to expanding home care and introducing a new Long Term Care Act to streamline the system.

-With files from Stephen Llewellyn

Hospital bed crunch may be eased by program review


Health Minister Victor Boudreau says the pressure put on hospitals by large numbers of medically discharged patients taking up beds may be alleviated through the Liberal government’s strategic program review.

The health minister’s comments on Wednesday came the day after Dr. Ben Hoyt, the chief surgeon at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, said too many surgeries are being cancelled because patients who should be in alternate care, such as nursing homes, are taking up hospital beds.

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Telegraph-Journal – Senior Care Policy Under Fire

Senior Care Policy Under Fire1Senior Care Policy Under Fire2

CHRIS MORRIS Legislature Bureau
September 18, 2014

FREDERICTON • Amy Klassen still can’t believe the notation she read recently on the medical chart of an elderly patient which said the woman “was fit to reside in the hallway” of a hospital.

Klassen, who owns and operates the McNair Manor special care homes in the Moncton area, has been engaged in a long and difficult battle with the Department of Social Development over a policy change that effectively shuts the door of special care homes to many seniors.

“No one is fit to reside in a hallway,” Klassen said in an interview Wednesday, as she appealed for political will when it comes to long-term care for seniors in New Brunswick.

“Our seniors and their families are being blocked from accessing affordable and practical solutions.”

Klassen is unhappy that more attention has not been paid to the special care home problem on the election trail, despite the circulation of about 90,000 flyers by an affected family prior to the start of the campaign that highlighted concerns with senior care in the province.

Klassen’s homes and other specialized care homes now have empty beds in their facilities because of the Tory government’s change to admission criteria which has effectively eliminated access to subsidies for about three-quarters of what are called “level 3B seniors” – seniors who have medical needs and require personal care but who can walk, perhaps with the aid of a walker. Continue reading

Moncton family’s anti-PC flyers don’t break election rules

A Moncton-area family is not violating campaign financing rules despite sending out 90,000 flyers slamming the Progressive Conservative government’s policy on seniors.

The flyer stating ‘Say no to David Alward’s senior care policy’ arrived in 90,000 New Brunswick homes last week.

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Foyer de soins spéciaux: le gouvernement accusé de faire de la discrimination

Amy McNair-Klassen est la copropriétaire des foyers de soins spéciaux McNair Manor. Elle s’insurge contre une politique du gouvernement provincial. – Acadie Nouvelle: Mathieu Roy-Comeau



FREDERICTON – Des propriétaires de foyer de soins spéciaux reçoivent l’appui de l’opposition dans leur lutte contre la «discrimination» de la part du ministère du Développement social. Ils dénoncent la décision du ministère de subventionner seulement les frais des résidants atteints d’Alzheimer ou de démence.

En avril 2012, la ministre du Développe­ment social de l’époque, Sue Stultz, annonçait l’ouverture de 704 lits de soins spécialisés dans le secteur privé pour les personnes atteintes de la maladie d’Alzheimer et de démence.

Le gouvernement a cessé du même coup de subventionner les places en foyer de soins spéciaux de catégorie 3B pour les autres personnes âgées. Continue reading

Telegraph-Journal – Petition decries funding changes for special care home admissions


FREDERICTON – Seniors who don’t suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s are being unfairly denied a subsidy for some special care homes, says a group that took its message to the legislature.

The Moncton-area proponents of the petition say a change in the definitions used by the Department of Social Development means some seniors are finding themselves denied a subsidy to cover the surcharges at some special care homes that offer the 3B level of service for those in the early stages of dementia. Continue reading

Times & Transcript – Long term senior care plan is not acceptable

The Times & Transcript published Mark Mattison’s Letter to the Editor today:

“The David Alward government, stealthily, in May 2012, changed their senior care policy, eliminating both choice and financial subsidy to acute care seniors entering long-term care, effectively reducing access to long-term care.”

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Telegraph-Journal – Changes make some care inaccessible

Feb 22/2014 – Letters to the Editor:

Level 3B residential care for seniors in New Brunswick is a cost-effective and simple alternative for approximately 50 per cent of nursing home candidates.

Level 3B residential care is long-term care for seniors who are medically stable, but in need of 24-hour caregiving and occasional nursing services. It was thriving until the impact of the 2012 Department of Social Development admission policy change. Level 3B care is now inaccessible to more than 1,000 seniors across New Brunswick. We need strong leadership from our MLAs and Premier Alward to reverse this policy change.

The decisions being made concerning Level 3B special care home admission policy are costing our province millions of dollars in potential savings and resulting in at least one active human rights violation complaint.

For over a year now, families and facility operators have been meeting with the department and provincial MLAs in an attempt to reverse this detrimental admission policy change, without any success.

Now is the time for our government to reinstate the original functional capabilities admission criteria for Level 3B special care homes. We need to allow these services to be accessible for a growing number of seniors in this province.

Amy Klassen
McNair Manor, Moncton

2014-02-22_TJ Letter to Editor - Amy Klassen

Telegraph Journal – Letter to the Editor

From this mornings Telegraph Journal Letter to the Editor section:

Most New Brunswickers would be shocked to learn that senior care is going to potentially cost them tens of thousands of dollars annually. The Alward government, in May 2012,changed its senior-care policy, eliminating both choice and financial subsidy to acute-care seniors entering long-term care, effectively reducing access to long term care.

The plot, woven by the Department of Social Development, is unacceptable. Acute care seniors with healthy minds are now excluded from receiving the subsidy at specialized care homes. Since 2012 only seniors that have dementia qualify for the provincial subsidy.

My mother is 83, a dialysis patient and has advanced macular degeneration. Last spring she fell, breaking her hip and elbow necessitating a move to long-term care. Two large nursing homes in Moncton both had long waiting lists and were refusing to accept dialysis patients.

Therefore the only options were; mom having to stay on the Georges Dumont Hospital’s dialysis ward for a wait of one to two years or seek out the department’s 100 per cent private pay options.

Returning to the pre-May 2012 system, which was a resounding success, constitutes a win for the general public, as they would have the certainty of a shared-cost model with specialized care homes as a viable option. The province wins as specialized care homes can deliver an equally serviced bed at a minimum 50 per cent cost savings versus the large nursing homes. These savings constitute a verifiable windfall. Every taxpayer in the province should be upset over the department’s misappropriation of tax dollars.

Over 90 per cent of the provincial Conservative caucus is fully versed in the financial devastation of this policy and the social injustices.The MLAs are being stonewalled by the department. I encourage everyone to visit New Brunswickers are making this an election issue.

Mark Mattison

2014-02-20_TJ Letter to Editor - Mark Mattison-close

Care Home Policies Slammed

“The Mattisons have a warning for New Brunswickers: what happened to them can happen to you.

The Moncton family became the reluctant face of what can happen now that the province has changed the admissions criteria for so-called Level 3B special care beds.

Less than a week before their mother Pauline was set to leave hospital and enter just such a facility, the Department of Social Development added the criteria of dementia for those seeking a 3B bed, arguing that those cases need to be segregated, leaving the family matriarch well enough to leave the hospital, but with nowhere to go…”

Read the entire article here: