Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith McCrossin says red tape and bureaucracy are preventing patients being moved in a timely manner from hospital acute care beds to long-term care beds in nursing homes.
On February 11, Smith-McCrossin wrote to Health Minister Randy Delorey and Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) Chair Frank van Schaayk following the news that there were 15 empty beds in long-term care homes in Cumberland County. She has yet to receive a response.
“People are lined up on stretchers for days on end. It is unacceptable and unnecessary,” says Smith-McCrossin. “This has been going on now for far too long. We are at a breaking point and immediate action must be taken.”
On February 22, Smith-McCrossin met with the NSHA Continuing Care Director who says it is taking on average 10 to 12 days to get a patient transferred from an acute care bed in hospital to a nursing home bed once one becomes available.
Smith McCrossin says these delays are needless and contribute to problems right through the health system.
“Healthcare is in crisis right now,” says Smith-McCrossin. “There are solutions right in front of us and one of them is to stop letting red tape slow down patients being transferred from hospital to empty nursing home beds.”
The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia was the most recent organization to sound the alarm on the spiraling healthcare crisis, noting that the population over the age of 85 will triple in the next twenty years.
Smith-McCrossin says the Liberal government and the NSHA need to anticipate problems as the population continues to skew older.
“In all my years as a registered nurse, it took maximum 48 hours to transfer a patient to a different facility,” says Smith-McCrossin. “While we definitely need to put an urgent focus on long term solutions, we also need to address congestion and roadblocks that can create short term solutions.”
As of yesterday, there were nine empty beds in nursing homes in Amherst alone. Smith McCrossin is calling for immediate action to move patients awaiting nursing homes as soon as possible.