CUPE Nova Scotia, the union representing long term care workers and acute care workers across the province, says the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) needs to address the “cause” of the overcrowding in Nova Scotia’s hospitals, not the “symptoms”.

“Last week, the NSHA tried to force long term care facilities to solve the problem over overcrowding in hospitals. In doing so, they failed to acknowledge that overcrowding and slow transition of patients from hospitals back to long term care are symptoms of a larger problem,” says CUPE Nova Scotia President Nan McFadgen.

“Acute care is overburdened because long term care in Nova Scotia is under-resourced,” says Louise Riley, chairperson of CUPE NS’s long term care coordinating committee. “The McNeil government must treat the cause of the problem. We need more staff and more beds in long term care facilities. Full stop.”

“We know that about 20 per cent of acute care beds are occupied by people coming from long term care homes or who don’t necessarily require acute care,” says Bev Strachan, president of CUPE 8920. “We also know that since the single health board for the entire province was created in 2015, the length of time people are waiting in hospitals for placement into a LTC bed has increased dramatically, even though we’ve seen an increase in services provided by home support workers.”

“I agree with the statements made by our long term care members. Increasing resources and staff in long term care would go a long way to address the cause of overcrowding in our hospitals,” says Strachan.

Seniors living in hospitals waiting for placement are missing out on a better quality of life. They deserve better. “Long term care workers know it. Acute care workers in hospitals know it. Nursing home directors know it. Family members of people requiring long term care know it,” says McFadgen. “The only people who don’t know it, or don’t care, are Stephen McNeil, Randy Delorey and Janet Knox.”