Nova Scotia to add beds and upgrade long-term care homes in wake of COVID-19 deaths

·1 min read

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia government is announcing the creation of new nursing home beds, along with upgrades to 17 care facilities, saying the improvements will incorporate lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement today, Premier Iain Rankin pledged a total of $96.5 million to add 264 new beds in the province's central zone and to replace and upgrade 1,298 beds at 14 existing nursing homes and three residential care facilities around the province.

The first project is expected to be complete by 2026-27, with the Health Department projecting a reduction in average wait times across the province to two months, down from the current five to six months, as the work is completed.

A review published last September into 53 deaths at the Northwood facility in Halifax during the pandemic's first wave concluded shared rooms and staffing shortages were among the key factors contributing to the outbreaks and spread of COVID-19.

A news release from the province says the all of the upgrades will result in single rooms with their own bathrooms.

The province says of the total being committed, almost $65 million will go to replace beds, make repairs and renovate the 17 existing facilities, while close to $30 million will go to add new beds in the central zone, which includes the Halifax area.

In addition, funds will go to purchase a bed vacancy management system and to assess facilities that are more than 25 years old, while $792,000 will be used to hire nine employees to oversee the projects.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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