Money will be used for air filtration systems, antimicrobial furniture in territory’s elders’ homes
Nunavut will get $3 million to improve safety measures in the territory’s elders-care homes under a new agreement between the federal government and Government of Nunavut.
The money comes from the billion-dollar federal Safe Long-Term Care Fund, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said at a press conference in Iqaluit Tuesday.
The money will be used to buy high-efficiency particulate, or HEPA, air filters, diagnostic equipment and antimicrobial furniture for residents’ rooms.
“Today’s agreement with Nunavut will help address the challenges affecting elders’ homes to ensure that all seniors are treated with dignity and receive appropriate care,” Duclos said in a news release.
The money will also be used for overtime pay for health-care aides and to hire additional staff, and buy personal protective equipment for staff and visitors.
Nunavut’s Minister of Health John Main said Nunavut’s five elders’ facilities vary in age and currently have different systems for air filtration.
“One of the big lessons we’ve learned through COVID is that it’s all about shared air and aerosol transmission,” Main said.
He said the territorial government is looking for opportunities to partner with the federal government and organizations within the territory to improve elder care.
“The health infrastructure challenges we have in the territory are just staggering,” Main said.
“We’re trying to get to a spot where we’re caught up. At the current pace of investment into health infrastructure, it’s going to take a very long time.”
Elders’ advocates have long called on the territorial and federal governments to improve elder care in Nunavut.
In November 2021, a petition to make elder care available in every Nunavut community reached 22,000 signatures.
Main said while the $3 million for safety measures announced Tuesday is needed, there is more work to be done to improve elder care.
“We need more beds, we need more spaces,” he said.
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