Ask people around town and inevitably the overcrowded Emergency Department and issues at the Primary Care Level loom large in conversation. It has long been established that the overcrowding in the Emergency along with the long waits are not only unnecessary but entirely preventable. Yet it goes on with no apparent light at the end of the tunnel particularly for elders.
The government of NB announced in 2017 an investment of $200 million in new construction and renovations at the hospital and the project is well underway with large steel framing visible from the highway. It is a building from the 1980’s and is in need of some upgrades. But would you not think that one of the main construction elements would be the creation of a facility to eliminate the Emergency Department overcrowding? Do we have any hope that there is some solution out in the community medical practice world that is destined to fix this problem? Read more here
Since the late 1990’s calls have been repeated to “bring nursing homes back to the Health Department” in New Brunswick. The reason is that in the eyes of planners, it seems so simple: “all those elderly folks waiting for placement in Nursing Homes, mostly in highly expensive hospital beds…… they could be in a nursing home if we just had control of them!”
That is simply uninformed reasoning, simplistic logic and New Brunswick’s health and long term care is in the disarray that it is because since the mid-1990’s, knee-jerk, simplistic logic has been applied to this incredibly important and expensive two portfolios. Primary Care has not advanced much, Emergency Services are still over-run with non-emergencies, access to specialty care continues to get worse, and doctor’s office automation stalled, Alternate Level of Care patients continue to grow. Knee-jerk administration of the province’s most expensive and complex resource is not wise.
So my caution is simply that NB avoids another knee-jerk strategy based on false assumptions and ill-informed counsel. Read more here
Health Reform Requires Strength and Great Information:
The proposed transfer of nursing homes to the Department of Health or to the Health Authorities is a mistake of the highest order! Nursing homes are important elements of the Long Term Care System. They have progressed a long way from the old days of crowded facilities with bad smells. Several nursing homes in NB are now recognized internationally as leaders in Long Term Care and could teach us all a lot about eldercare. Read more here
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.