The New Brunswick Health Council released a survey on Tuesday that it says shows overall satisfaction with the home-care services people receive from the province's extramural program and home support services.
But a disability advocate says that doesn't fit with what she hears from clients.
Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Council, said the 2021 survey of more than 7,700 New Brunswickers shows people are more satisfied with the speed of services than they were a decade ago, and they are generally satisfied with their home care services.
"Many indicators of accessibility and availability for home-care services in New Brunswick have improved since the first edition of the Home Care Survey," Robichaud said in a news release.
"Conducting this survey on a three-year cycle enables our organization to report on trends and changes in health care quality over time."
However, the executive director of Ability New Brunswick said the numbers don't accurately reflect what her group sees every day.
Haley Flaro said satisfaction rates "seem high for what we're hearing in the community."
Flaro said there are "some promising results there … but I don't think it paints an adequate picture of what the reality is."
"When I started reading it, it just like hit me in the gut because I really felt like, Oh my goodness, if we take this at face value, the home support worker situation in New Brunswick is OK, and it's not."
Flaro said she isn't sure why the results are so different from what people are telling her organization.
For example, the report says people are generally content with the number of hours of care that they receive, but Flaro said Ability New Brunswick "struggles every day" to get people the hours they need."
The one thing that she's not surprised about in the report are the glowing reviews for the extramural program.
"I'm really convinced that the extramural side is accurate," Flaro said. "Ability New Brunswick applauded the move of extramural to Medavie, and we really believe that they've improved the effectiveness and efficiency of their service, and that the extramural program is a gold star in New Brunswick. They've set the bar really high."
Potential pandemic impact
Robichaud said in an interview the survey also asked people to assess whether their services were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those results, he said, varied by region.
Eight per cent of people getting home support services in Zone 6, which includes Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula, "experienced these challenges," he said, but the number is almost 23 per cent in Zone 4, which includes Edmundston and area.
Robichaud said recognizing the variability across New Brunswick will "help provincial decision-makers take into account the realities that communities are experiencing at a local level."
He said the results can also be used to help improve home-care services in the province as results will be shared with the extramural program and with the Department of Social Development, which oversees home support services.
"The survey itself is really about trying to get a better grasp of people's experience with these services and with the goal of trying to improve them," said Robichaud.