Nov. 2, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - A working group is being formed by Social Development to review policies and standards for special-care homes in New Brunswick. Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny made the announcement today.
"The special-care home industry is changing significantly," said Kenny. "New challenges are surfacing as the growing senior population looks for more choices and options and a wider range of services. We want to make sure our policies and standards reflect the changes taking place in the sector."
The long-term care residential model for special-care homes has been in place since 1997. The province's long-term care strategy, Be Independent. Longer, outlines a number of actions pertaining to special-care homes.
The working group will examine these actions, review best practices, and discuss issues related to special-care home services. It will have six to eight months to complete its review and present recommendations to the provincial government.
Representatives from the New Brunswick Special Care Home Association, l'Association francophone des Établissements de Soins spéciaux du Nouveau-Brunswick, the New Brunswick Senior Citizens' Federation and l'Association acadienne et francophones des aînées et aînés du Nouveau-Brunswick will take part.
Special-care homes are privately owned and operated. Each year, the province invests about $76 million in special-care home services in New Brunswick. A total of 4,575 New Brunswickers, most of them seniors, live in 430 special-care homes.
The provincial government provides financial assistance to help cover the cost of resident care. The maximum amount of assistance for residents of special-care homes increased to $74 per day in 2007 from $28.87 per day in 1997.
Special-care homes provide services to seniors who require low to moderate levels of care referred to as Level 1 and Level 2 care.
A number of special-care homes are also used to provide emergency-care beds for short-term stays and enhanced beds for clients with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. These beds help to reduce waiting lists at nursing homes. It is expected that as demand increases, more enhanced beds will become available as part of newly constructed facilities.
In recent years, some special-care homes have diversified to offer separate, independent living and room and board services that are privately paid and not funded by the provincial government.
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522.