More seniors being sent far from home is a step in the wrong direction: NDP

Waiting to move into a seniors care home is already hard on seniors and their families – moving them far away from home to wait is a further step in the wrong direction when it comes to seniors care, according to the NDP.

Seniors in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region will now be subject to a 150-kilometre radius first-bed policy, the health region said Tuesday. That means, a Regina senior waiting for a space in long-term care will wait in the first available bed – which may be as far away as Cupar, Long Lake Valley or Lestock. The policy comes into effect on July 1.

“We should be working hard to bring seniors closer to home. Closer to their family, family doctor and support system,” said Danielle Chartier. “Moving into a seniors home is a very traumatic time for many people, and this makes that even harder. There is a shortage of seniors care spaces in many communities, and this government should be fixing that by adding seniors care beds – not by shipping our loved ones away from their homes.”

Chartier said the policy, similar to one already in effect in other health regions, doesn’t put the best interests of the seniors first.

“This is a change that signals the government doesn’t intend to address this element of the seniors care crisis,” said Chartier. “The NDP wants to give seniors more choices, more spaces, a higher quality of care and, ultimately, the opportunity to have a better quality of life. This government is content to put provisions in place that allow the broken, understaffed seniors care system to continue as-is.

“Can you imagine an elderly man having to drive 150 kilometres on winter roads to see his wife while she waits weeks or months away from home? Can you imagine a mom knowing that instead of a daily visit, her daughter can only come see her on the weekends? Instead of expanding this bad policy, the government should be working to ensure there are enough spaces and supports for seniors to stay in the community they choose.”

Chartier also noted that an excellent home care system is a part of a strong solution – but this government’s cuts to home care have left many seniors and families unable to rely on that option.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus