Dec. 17, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The province will conduct a pilot project in five sites over the next year to provide 3.5 hours of care in nursing homes. Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny made the announcement today.
"Since 2006, we have increased the hours of care in nursing homes to 3.1 hours per day per resident," Kenny said. "This pilot project will help us identify how we can best deliver more service and what if any challenges we may face along the way. It will ensure the ultimate rollout of 3.5 hours can be implemented smoothly and that real improvements in service delivery are achieved."
Central Carleton Nursing Home in Hartland, Foyer Saint-Joseph de Saint-Basile in Edmundston, and three new nursing homes operated by Shannex in Riverview, Quispamsis and Fredericton will take part. The estimated cost is $350,000.
"The nursing homes involved are in the best possible position in terms of staffing to carry out the pilot," Kenny said. "Ramp-ups in service delivery can be accommodated most easily in these long-term facilities."
Kenny said that the Shannex facilities are opening in 2010 with newly hired staff, and will offer a fresh start for the test.
Central Carleton Nursing Home will offer a test model in a smaller, 30-bed home. Foyer Saint-Joseph de Saint-Basile will participate by building on its current care model. It will eventually be joining with Villa Des Jardins in Edmundston with a combined staff in a new facility, offering a good test model.
An independent firm will evaluate the project on the response of nursing home clients, quality of services provided, availability of and impact upon the staff, cost implications, as well as any systemic challenges that may need to be addressed.
"The government made a commitment to implement 3.5 hours of care," Kenny said. "This pilot lays the foundation to meet that commitment. It will examine the impact on seniors and staff and how this level of service can be achieved in a thoughtful, objective, and fiscally prudent way."
The Department of Social Development has been consulting with a variety of stakeholders who have agreed to be partners in the project.
"The New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes is pleased to see the government take within its mandate the first step in honouring its commitment to providing 3.5 hours of care to our residents," said Michael Keating, executive director of the association. "This pilot project will be of great assistance in determining the appropriate staffing ratios that are needed to provide the care our residents deserve. We commit ourselves to continuing to foster a productive relationship with the government and applaud it for its understanding of our needs."
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Healthy Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522.