FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will make changes to the long-term care assessment process in 2020 with the intent of streamlining it for seniors.

“We need to ensure that our seniors receive the care and support they need in the right setting and at the right time,” said Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard. “By streamlining the assessment process for seniors waiting for home support services, services in a special care home or a nursing home, our goal is to improve the level of care they receive to ensure they maintain their independence as long as possible.”

A team of staff from the departments of Health and Social Development and from the regional health authorities, will transition the assessment process to the Department of Health for April 2020.

The intent is to improve co-ordination and address the pressure on provincial hospitals related to the number of their patients needing an alternate level of care. These patients do not require the level of care provided in a hospital and can be more appropriately cared for in a nursing home, special care home or in their own home.

The minister of Social Development will continue to be responsible for the licensing of nursing homes and the management of the department’s nursing home services branch. The department will continue to work closely with the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes.

“Our objective is to improve the timeliness and efficiency of the assessment process for seniors and improve access to hospital beds for patients waiting for acute care services,” said Health Minister Hugh J. Flemming.