In 2016 the NB Council on Aging listed creation of a provincial Dementia Strategy as a top priority for government. Prior to the council meetings, there had been periodic calls from the Alzheimer Society and other knowledgeable leaders in the system for such a strategy for the province.
The reason for the push from care delivery persons and families is that the growth of Dementia (there are at least 85 different forms of which Alzheimer’s is the leading one) is rapid and placing incredible stress on Emergency Departments, family doctors’ offices, the long term care system, and, most importantly, caregivers.
The Alzheimer Society of NB estimates the cost of treating this disease is $479 million per annum and by 2029 it will rise to $1.042 Billion. In the first six months of this year, the Society received 405 new clients and that is less than half of the known new cases being managed in New Brunswick in some manner. Read more here
Adding More Seats in university nursing programs is no solution to the “crisis in nursing staffing”
In his article in the Telegraph Journal on Friday, October 18, 2019, Michael Robinson reveals that prior to the budget cuts in the university nursing faculties, the UNB had pitched the province with an idea it believed would solve the nursing shortage crisis. He examined a flurry of attempts by the UNB administration to convince government that the solution to the nursing staffing crisis was to add a large investment to expanding faculty and class size in the RN programs at UNB.
In the exchanges of emails, it was revealed that the university proposed major expansion in enrollment levels with a cost estimate of $14,000 per student as the solution to graduating more nurses qualified to write the registration examinations. This proposal was to take the number of seats from 488 to 800 by 2025/26 adding significant increase in budget in addition to what had been approved in 2005/6 for the expansion of class size. Read more here
Missing Two Major Steps in a Three Step Long Term Care Process: why does all the energy go to the most expensive option?
In all the discussion of those poor seniors occupying Acute Care Beds, one rarely, if ever, hears discussion of all the options? Instead, when discussion does take place with the family doctor about the next stage in care, the conversation invariably commences with “perhaps it is time to be considering a nursing home.”
This conversation is repeated over and over dozens of times each day across the province as doctors and discharge planners try their best to help families come to terms with one of life’s most challenging decisions. Read more here
In his final offer to CUPE as published in the TJ last week, Premier Higgs offered a percentage wage increase to be tied to a reduction of two days in the contractual allowance for sick time. Employee absenteeism in the health care system is not just a problem; it is a costly part of what is wrong with what has been described as an ailing health system in New Brunswick. The total cost of absenteeism across the health and long term care system in New Brunswick would be in the $100’s of millions annually if calculated properly.
The sick time allowance in any collective agreement or institutional personnel policies, contrary to widespread myths, is that it serves as an insurance plan designed to ensure that employees cash flow is protected when they are seriously so they can remain at home, or hospital, without fear of losing pay. In the private sector, many employers provide little to no similar benefit but good employers will take steps to protect their employees. A small business operator recently told me that she pays for 2 sick days per annum. Others pay less, others pay more generously as an employee retention tool. Read more here
In all the responses received to my columns from professionals and the public, this is the question that keeps recurring and breaks my heart. As recently as this morning I was asked that question, again, by a retired health professional NB. The same question arose in discussions at two public speaking engagements. These are intelligent citizens of New Brunswick who vote, pay taxes, and not system abusers at any level. Read more here
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.