At the long-term care announcement in Glace Bay, premier Iain Rankin, right, chatted with Nina Nicholson, whose husband lives at the Victoria Haven nursing home.

NS adds 264 beds for long-term care, needs 1,300

Provincial plan for new nursing home spending falls way short of LTC waiting list.

  Nova Scotia will build 264 new long-term care beds and replace nearly 1,300 existing beds across the province, premier Iain Rankin announced Friday. Nova Scotia NDP and PC leaders say this plan falls short of what’s needed to support the public long-term care program—which has nearly 1,300 people waiting for a bed.

In a Friday morning announcement at the Victoria Haven nursing Home in Glace Bay, which was streamed live on Facebook, Rankin said he’s determined to change the face of long-term care in Nova Scotia.

“This support will help rejuvenate the sector, ensuring our loved ones are well cared for today and into the future,” he said. The province will spend $96.5 million across 17 facilities, anticipating the first of these renovations will be done sometime in 2026 or 2027. This is the second long-term care upgrade announced this year. In January the province announced it would add 236 beds, which are expected to be ready sometime in 2024 or 2025.

Long-term care has been under the microscope following the high number of COVID-19 deaths occurring in provincial homes, particularly Northwood in Halifax where 53 people died. Repeated calls were made for public inquiry into the outbreak, but instead the province called for a review under the province’s Quality-improvement Information Protection Act which meant only recommendations were made public—permanently keeping findings from the investigation under wraps.

Gary Burrill and Tim Houston seem to agree this long-term care project is too little too late. The NDP leader said in a statement that after years of inaction on adding beds, this funding still means years of waiting for residents.

“For eight years, the Liberals argued that there wasn’t a need for new long-term care beds. Now, on the eve of an election, the Liberals have admitted that they were wrong,” Burrill said in a statement. “Because of the Liberals’ delay, seniors who need long-term care and their families will still be waiting five or more years for change.”

PC leader Houston said the amount of new beds added over the past year does not make a dent in improving access to care. The province reported 1,292 people waiting for a long-term care spot in March 2021.

“This is a cynical political move for Iain Rankin to try to get elected, and it doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s needed to fix our long-term care system,” Houston said in a statement.

“When seniors can’t get into long-term care, they are forced into the hospital. When they are forced into the hospital, wait times for everyone grow. When wait times grow, ambulances can’t get to patients in need of urgent care. It’s all connected, and it’s clear Iain Rankin doesn’t understand that.”

Project breakdown

The $96.5 million will go towards:

• $64.8 million to replace, repair or renovate 17 facilities

• $29.9 million to add 264 new beds in the Central health zone to reduce wait times to two months

• $615,000 to procure bed vacancy management and infrastructure management systems

• $405,000 to assess facilities that are more than 25 years old

• $792,000 to hire nine permanent full-time employees to oversee and support the projects

The 17 facilities getting upgrades are:

• Harbourview Haven, Lunenburg

• Wolfville Nursing Home, Wolfville

• Hillsview Acres Home for Special Care, Greenfield (Queens County)

• Queens Manor, Liverpool

• Dykeland Lodge, Windsor

• Gables Lodge, Amherst

• Melville Lodge, Halifax

• Glen Haven Manor, New Glasgow

• MacLeod Victoria Haven Nursing Home, Glace Bay

• RK MacDonald Nursing Home, Antigonish

• Valley View Villa, Stellarton

• Carefield Manor Residential Care Facility, Sydney

• Dominion Community Guest Home, Dominion (Cape Breton Regional Municipality)

• Highland Manor, Neils Harbour (Victoria County)

• St. Anne Community & Nursing Care Centre, Arichat (Richmond County)

• Roseway Nursing Home, Shelburne

• Maple Hill Manor, New Waterford

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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