MICHELE BEATON: COVID-19 cases in Island Long-Term Care Homes

Recent COVID updates have left me uneasy. I am especially concerned about the conditions in long-term care on PEI, particularly private facilities. Over the past two years, there has been a complete lack of action by this government to protect both residents and frontline healthcare workers.

For example, the number of beds in private long-term care and public long-term care are roughly equal—624 and 632, respectively. Both are also given the same public health guidance. Yet COVID outcomes have been considerably worse in private care homes.

There have been at least 244 cases among residents of private LTC homes, compared to at least 127 cases among residents of public LTC homes. In other words, private LTC residents have been nearly 2x more likely to catch COVID than public LTC residents.

 

The pandemic has shown that more cases mean more hospitalizations and deaths, especially among older people. When Minister Hudson presented to the Standing Committee in February, there were 9 deaths associated with long-term care or dual care. Since his presentation, that number has grown to 23 Islanders.

Prince Edward Island has an aging population and we have a binary approach to aging. You either stay at home or you go into long-term care. The pandemic has shown that the private model of care does not provide the best health outcomes for residents.

It is past time for the King government to show it cares about Island seniors. It can begin by clearly answering:

  1. How it is overseeing private LTC homes to ensure that all residents are safe and well cared for?
  2. What is government’s plan to protect Island seniors in the expected future waves of COVID-19?
  3. When will government initiate a strategic plan to transition senior care from for-profit services to a public system that prioritizes people and their well-being?

Michele Beaton, MLA Mermaid – Stratford
Official Opposition Green Caucus Critic for Health and Wellness