Long Term Care in Newfoundland and Labrador

Long Term Care Inquiry

Recently, I received the following inquiry:

Mr. Williams: I am a CARP member living in Nova Scotia. I am writing on behalf of my mother who lives in St. John’s and is a CARP member for many years. Mom’s health is declining and it is possible that she will need to go into a nursing home in the near future. In the meantime she wishes to give a sum of money to her granddaughter. We are wondering whether doing so would negatively affect any financial assessment that might be conducted by the government if she needs subsidization upon admission to a nursing home. I am aware that some provinces have policies limiting the time frame within which people can dispose of liquid assets prior to needing financial assistance. What are Newfoundland’s policies in this regard?

I refereed this inquiry to both Suzanne Brake, Director, Office for Aging and Seniors, Department of Health and Community Services. Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Kelly Heisz, Executive Director, Seniors Resource Centre, St. John’s. Both responded without delay and I thought it would be appropriate to provide members with the information both gave.

First, Kelly Heisz indicated that the Seniors Resource Centre can provide a great deal of information for seniors on almost anything and everything. In particular, the Centre has Peer Advocates who answer inquiries daily and anyone with a question on any issue is encouraged to call the Centre at 709-737-2333 or 1-800-563-5599. Kelly also suggested that one person who may be able to provide the type of information asked for in the inquiry is Caroline Fleming, Financial Assessment Officer for Eastern Health at 709-752-4426 or email her [email protected]

Suzannne Brake was also most helpful in providing up-to-date information. The following is the information that she provided:

The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador is in the process of developing a comprehensive Long Term Care and Community Services Strategy. This involves a number of elements ranging from determining levels of care, types of care, housing and so on. One element is the financial assessment process.

In the past eligibility has been based on income and assets. Some changes to the process will come into effect in July, 2009 while others will be implemented in December. In the past potential residents in long term care were able to maintain $5,000 (single) or $10,000 (couple) and be eligible for subsidization. As of July 1, this will increase to $10,000 (single) and $20,000 (couple). In December the enhanced financial process will be more income based reaching out to greater numbers of eligible recipients living in the community.

More information on that process will be available soon. The following, from the press release in March, 2009, is an example of how it will impact individuals living at home and requiring home support. The newly restructured financial assessment process takes effect December 1, 2009. This time line is in place to allow for training of staff to use the new process and to reassess clients currently receiving home support. The examples below illustrate the impact of the new financial assessment process: