Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Closing Instituions: It's the Plan!

    • (People First of Canada Website)

    Last Sunday, June 8th, a number of groups came together to protest institutional living and call for the closure of institutions.  This idea provoked a lot of differing opinions about the subject.  The act of calling for the Closure of Institutions made people wonder what that would look like.  People working in the industry worried about their jobs, people in the community wondered about where all these people would go, some other people wondered how could severely disabled people live in the community.  The Advocating Parents of Nova Scotia people must be off their rockers!  Nutjobs! Not really.....

    The Department of Community Services, under the Dexter Government, created an advisory committee called:

    The Nova Scotia Joint Community-Government Advisory Committee on Transforming the Services to Persons with Disabilities Program.

    Here is what they say about institutions:

    Reliance on institutional care – With some 1,100 people living in large congregate care facilities, Nova Scotia is more likely than other provinces to support people with disabilities in large congregate facilities. Significant public funds continue to be spent on an institutional model – a model that universally has been proven to produce less than quality outcomes for persons with disabilities (in comparison to supported community living) and a model that has been unequivocally rejected by persons with disabilities. 

    Read the entire document

    That committee produced a plan for inclusive community living.  DCS Min. Joanne Bernard has made a commitment to see this plan through.  APNS has learned through the process of this last protest that very few major stakeholders ( People working in the industry, Unions etc) know that this plan exists.
    This was evident when we met with NSGEU and by the press release put out by the Nova Scotia Nurses Union and CUPE. The plan that DCS has is to Shut the Doors!

    Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union and Canadian Union of Public Employees
    Joint Opinion/Editorial
    June 4, 2014
    Shutting the doors not the answer
    There has been a great deal of dialogue surrounding the tragic events at Quest - Adult Support and Rehabilitation Centre in Lower Sackville where one resident caused the recent death of another.
    The events that transpired are not trivial nor should they be ignored. Whenever there is harm or loss of life, staff, administrators and families are devastated. They are driven to look for every possible measure that could have prevented such an occurrence. Sometimes there are solutions and at times there is no amount of caution or anticipation that would have made a difference.
    While those in authority continue to look for answers and ways to ensure that residents remain in a safe and supportive environment, we cannot forget about the good that is being done at this and other centres like it.
    The reality is that there are very few options available to house and care for those in need of the very specialized services provided in these settings. Those living in these types of facilities have numerous conditions including, but not exclusive to, psychological, social and/or behavioural challenges.
    Quest is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals working within interdisciplinary teams. Like all health care facilities, there are standards of practice and policies that guide and support each resident’s individualized care plan.  However, not unlike any other environment, unpredictable events can occur resulting in devastating outcomes. Does this mean that a facility with an overall history of quality care and expertise should shut its doors?
    As unions representing those who work very hard to provide medical services and protection for those in their care, we urge temperance and understanding at this difficult time. To consider closing a facility that offers specialized care to some of our most vulnerable citizens might be a knee jerk reaction. The investigation that’s currently underway will hopefully result in recommendations to prevent another tragedy.
    We fully support the families of those who are concerned about the recent events and we are hopeful that steps can be taken to avoid harm to or the death of another resident. We also support the invaluable services that Quest provides and the employees who are dedicated to their residents.
    Shutting the doors should not be the answer when the services currently being provided may simply require improvement. Working together to keep these services in our communities and applying insights gained from difficult circumstances should be the goal.

    Janet Hazelton, BScN, RN, MPA
    President, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union

    Danny Cavanagh
    President CUPE Nova Scotia

    Advocating Parents of Nova Scotia wants to see this outstanding plan come to fruition.  We are open to working with any group including the Nova Scotia Government to help see this through in a very timely manner.

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