The New Brunswick Health Council released a survey on Tuesday that it says shows overall satisfaction with the home care services people receive from the extramural program and home support services from Province.
But a disability advocate says that doesn’t match what she hears from clients.
Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the New Brunswick Health Council, said2021 survey of over 7,700 New Brunswickers shows that people are more satisfied with the speed of services than they were a decade ago, and that they are generally satisfied with their home care services.
“Many indicators of accessibility and availability of home care services in New Brunswick have improved since the first edition of the Home Care Survey,” Robichaud said in a statement.
“Completing this survey on a three-year cycle allows our organization to report on trends and changes in the quality of health care over time.”
However, Ability New Brunswick’s executive director said the numbers don’t accurately reflect what her group sees every day.
Haley Flaro said the satisfaction ratings “seem high for what we’re hearing in the community.”
Flaro said there were “promising results there…but I don’t think that paints an adequate picture of reality.”
“When I first started reading it, it just kind of hit me in the gut because I was really like, Oh my god, if we take this at face value, the situation of home support workers in New Brunswick is OK, and it’s not.”
Flaro said she doesn’t know why the results were so different from what people tell her organization.
For example, the report says people are generally satisfied with the number of hours of care they receive, but Flaro said Ability New Brunswick “struggles every day” to give people the hours they need. “, and many said their hours had been reduced in the past few months.
“Ironically,” she said, “after the deadline for people to respond to this report.”
The one thing that doesn’t surprise her about the report are the rave reviews of the extramural program.
“I’m really confident that the extramural side is accurate,” Flaro said. “Ability New Brunswick has applauded the move of Extra-Mural to Medavie, and we truly believe that they have improved the effectiveness and efficiency of their service, and that the Extra-Mural program is a star of gold in New Brunswick. They set the bar very high.”
Potential impact of the pandemic
Robichaud said in an interview that the survey also asks people to rate whether their services have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thirteen percent of those receiving home support reported service disruptions, while seven percent of extramural patients reported “limits, reductions or canceled visits due to the COVID-19 pandemic” .
The results, he said, varied by region.
Eight percent of people receiving home support services in Zone 6, which includes Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula, “have experienced these challenges,” he said, but the number is nearly 23% in the zone 4, which includes Edmundston and its surroundings.
Robichaud said acknowledging variability across New Brunswick “will help provincial decision makers take into account the realities that communities experience at the local level.”
He said the results can also be used to help improve home care services in the province, as the results will be shared with the extramural program and with the Department of Social Development, which oversees support services at residence.
“The survey itself is really about getting a better understanding of people’s experience with these services and with the goal of trying to improve them,” Robichaud said.