New programs to help seniors receive care at home

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HALIFAX - More Nova Scotians will soon have the support they need to go home, instead of to a nursing home, after a hospital stay.   Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson announced today, Nov. 19, the province will provide funding to district health authorities over the next two years to develop programs that will help more patients discharged from hospital return to their homes.   "Seniors are applying for long-term care because they're concerned they don't have the resources or supports they need to stay in their homes any longer," said Mr. Wilson. "By creating programs to deliver care and support to them in their home, we can address their concerns and help them stay home where they want to be."   Seniors and low-income Nova Scotians who need help with daily living needs such as transportation, meal preparation, errands and yard work, will also receive more funding to hire people from the community for support. Provincewide research shows 82 per cent of home-care patients, and those awaiting long-term care placement, have difficulty doing day-to-day errands.   The province invested an additional $22 million to improve and meet the demand for home-care supports across the province as part of the 2012-13 budget.   Mr. Wilson cites Capital Health's Home Again program as an example of the kind of supports that will be introduced across the province during the next year.   Home Again gives patients and their families an opportunity to go home from hospital with more intensive supports and allows them to consider all possible options for long-term care in the privacy and comfort of their home.   "We now know clients do better in their own homes," said Jill Robbins, continuing care director with Capital Health.   The province will provide $625,000 in 2012-13 and $1.5 million in 2013-14 to fund similar programs across Nova Scotia.   For Georgina Calda, the chance to return to her home and black Lab Ches, was the best route to recovery. The 72-year-old Halifax woman suffered a stroke that left her in a wheelchair, with difficulty speaking. Ms. Calda's first language is Czech, and after the stroke, she lost a great deal of her English vocabulary and comprehension. She was in hospital, registered for a nursing home bed, when her son Dan Calda enrolled her in Capital Health's Home Again program.   "Since her native tongue is Czech and she could not speak or understand English after the stroke, she would have been completely isolated in a nursing home. I did whatever I had to, to get her home," said Mr. Calda. "She's making her own food, letting the dog out and, more or less living independently. Having her family and Ches near her has made all the difference. It's remarkable."   District health authorities welcomed the province's home-care investments and will work with community-based volunteers, non-profit groups and other businesses that can deliver the supports locally.   "For many seniors and low-income Nova Scotians, it can be difficult to get out to do errands or take care of their living requirements," said Bob Jenkins, continuing care director, South West Health. "Things like driving, grocery shopping, preparing meals, housekeeping and snow removal can prove to be obstacles. These instrumental activities of daily life are essential to ensure they are safe, to maintain their health and enable them to live as independently as possible."   The Department of Health and Wellness is also adjusting fees to reflect cost-of-living increases as of Dec. 1. Many home-care clients will now pay less for home care, home oxygen, and self-managed care.   "This government understands that most Nova Scotians prefer to be at home to receive the care they need," said Mr. Wilson. "That is why we are ensuring that more Nova Scotians can receive care safely and affordably in the comfort of their home."   More information about home-care services and programs is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health/ccs/homecare.asp .

Organizations: Capital Health, Lab Ches, Department of Health and Wellness

Geographic location: Nova Scotians, HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

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