Dunderdale defends home care policy

Steve Bartlett
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PC leader Kathy Dunderdale meets with Lucy Rowe, who turned 101 Oct. 1, during a stop at a seniors home in Lewisporte Thursday. — Photo by Steve Bartlett/The Telegram

Kathy Dunderdale suggests people look at the Progressive Conservative home care platform before slamming it.

She was responding to a comment the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) made in a news release Wednesday.

Carol Furlong used the words “horrible” and “discriminatory” to describe the policy, which includes developing a model that would see family members paid for providing care.

The union leader stated that would result in less care for someone who doesn’t have a family member available.

“Home care should be based on a person’s individual needs,” Furlong said, “not availability of relatives to work for minimum wage and no benefits.”

She called on Dunderdale to reconsider the policy.

But the Tory leader said in a media scrum Furlong has it wrong.

“People should really read the Blue Book and understand the policy before they start critiquing it. All we’re saying in terms of home care, we’re expanding home care. We’re going to put more money into home care. We’re going to modify how it’s regulated.”

Dunderdale explained the model being developed would allow home care recipients to receive the same amount of money whether they were being cared for by a family member or a home care agency.

She said it’ll still be up to the client who they hire.

“But instead of hiring somebody down the road, they can now hire somebody in their family. That’s the only change in terms of who delivers their care.”

Dunderdale said families have asked that such a system be put in place. She added it should ultimately result in savings for government.

“If people are kept healthy in their own homes for longer, we’re keeping them out of hospital beds and acute care beds, which are much more expensive to maintain and operate.”

Dunderdale spoke to the media outside a seniors home in Lewisporte, where she spent part of the morning campaigning with candidate Wade Verge.

The Tory bus then travelled Route 340 to Twillingate in support of incumbent Derrick Dalley.

One of the stops there was the Eastern Star Group. The plant dries shrimp shells and sends them to China where they are used in making glucosamine.

Other stops Thursday included New World Island and Musgrave Harbour, with the latter being in hopeful Eli Cross’ district.

But while Dunderdale campaigned on the northeast coast, St. John’s was on the mind of some PC colleagues.

The Tories are being challenged by the NDP in a couple of capital city districts.

Asked about those races, Dunderdale said such battles help make the election exciting.

“The worst thing you can have in an election is complacency. So when you get a few races on, that’s a good thing. That gets the blood circulating and everybody out and up, and I’m confident that we’re going to do well in those seats.”


Twitter: bartlett_steve

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, Tory, Eastern Star Group NDP

Geographic location: Lewisporte, Twillingate, China New World Island

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Recent comments

  • leah
    October 07, 2011 - 14:15

    If there are no hidden agenda in this program and it is how it is explain to us-I say ok-but I sure hope there are guidelines put in place such as doctors evaluations and notes- to prevent abuse.I know of parents living with their children-and they seem just fine to help around the house and with their grandchildren--this program is for the elderly who need homecare---I can bet there are a lot of people who will take advantage of this and say that they need homecare for their parents when in fact they are pretty productive elderly.

  • sean rumboldt
    October 07, 2011 - 10:09

    Doesn't dunderdale understand that most elderly are in those homes because they have no family to take care of them or else the families could not care less and considered them to be a burden ,now she is going to pay those same people to care for those same elderly ! I would advise Ms. dunderdale to put an elderly abuse program in place complete with policing ASAP.

  • Mark
    October 07, 2011 - 10:06

    If we are going to start paying people to look after their own parents, why wouldn't we pay people to look after their own children? What's the difference? And where does this end? What happens as the baby boomers age and the number of family members requiring home care is larger than the number of family members able to provide it?

  • Donna
    October 07, 2011 - 09:59

    Premier Dunderdale, having two parents still living at home in their 80's, this is fantastic news for our family! My parents don't enjoy having strangers in their house therefore finding home care has been a nightmare for us. Kudos to you and your government for making it easier for us as a family and for making things a lot less stressful on two wonderful seniors!

    • Jackie
      October 07, 2011 - 13:41

      @ Donna would you honestly take money for caring for your own parents if so shame on you.

  • Joseph McGrath
    October 07, 2011 - 09:27

    I believe she is on the right path to helping with improving homecare.Now as an aside we know there are going to be some defeated PC CANDIDATES in this election which normally means appointment to fat cat government jobs with hefty salaries attached.Why not sign them up a home care workers at the minimium wage?Most are hollering how they wish to serve the Province and there is no better way for them to do this than look after our sick and challenged in NL society.Lets keep a very very close eye on post election job appointments shall we.

  • TGIF
    October 07, 2011 - 08:36

    NAPE wants me mudder to be in their union to look after pop. Spin this one Carol.

  • Tony
    October 07, 2011 - 07:48

    Carol Furlong is dead wrong. What is discriminatory is tyhe present system cannot be hired. This is a sensible change and long over due. Nape opposition is based solely on the fact that would likely have a hard time getting these family to join the union

  • Phoebe Tilley
    October 07, 2011 - 07:45

    Its interesting how health care becomes so very important when an election is called then falls by the way side immediately after. Go to any of the Homes in St Johns on a normal day around 7-8 am un announced and see the conditions first hand that both residents and staff deal with all the time. then strut out in front of the cameras and say what a great job your government is doing. Have Jerome Kennedy explain to all of us why funding has been cut on the very basics such as food and sanitary products for the residents in these homes. You Premier were part of the Williams government that neglected these people and Kennedy was and is Health Minister. No wonder things are still in such a mess.

  • Maurice E. Adams
    October 07, 2011 - 07:04

    SOME FACTS: While the island's existing installed net capacity is 1,958 MW, average peak demand over the past 5 year period has been only 1,330 MW/year. (1,305 MW for year 2010) ++++++++++ When operating at peak capacity, Vale's Long Harbour plant will need only 92 MW (and Vale's 92 MW demand will equate to only 4.5% of our existing installed net capacity, and only 14% of that portion of our existing net capacity that is UNUSED each year). +++++++++ 98% of Nalcor's reported 40-year average yearly demand growth rate of 2.3% per year occurred before 1990 and very little (if any) relevance to future demand expectation+++++++ There has been "NO" average demand growth over the last 21 years (the most relevant period). ++++++++ There has been a "NEGATIVE" growth in demand of more than 15% over the last 6 years (the most relevant period). +++++++ Negative growth over the last 6 years has averaged 2.5% per year. ++++++++ Demand in 2010 was less than what it was as far back as 1989 (and down 120 GWh in 2010). +++++++++ Contrary to Nalcor's claims, lower demand in 2010 was not due to paper mill closures (their 2010 Annual report says that 80% of year 2010 demand reduction was due to lower "residential" use --- a further indication that Nalcor's forecast increase in demand is flawed). +++++++ While Nalcor acknowledges that lower demand in 2010 was due to "warmer weather", their forecast demand does not take into account warmer weather and the potential for reduced demand due to global warming/climate change. ++++++++ Nalcor forecast a demand for year 2010 at 1,519 MW, while actual peak demand for 2010 was only 1,305 MW (what does that say about the accuracy and reliability of 10, 20, 30, and 50 year forecasts?). +++++++ More than 1/3rd (more than 650MW) of our existing net capacity of 1,958 MW was UNUSED in year 2010. ++++++ 1/3rd (average about 630MW) of our existing net capacity has been UNUSED for each of the last 5 years (average peak demand over the last 5 years -- 1,330 MW). ++++++++ Vale's Long Harbour needs will only reduce that portion of our existing unused power by about 14%. +++++++++ A major flaw in the Upper Churchill project was that the contract had no escalator clause ----- yet Muskrat Falls has no escalator clause for the export sales to Emera/Nova Scotia. +++++++ However, Muskrat Falls has an escalator clause for Newfoundland ratepayers ONLY --- 2% per year, every year (Nalcor expressly changed the way they determined rates for Newfoundlanders (from a 'Cost of Service' approach to an 'escalating supply price' approach) so that costs were spread out over decades to future generations (our children and grand children). The escalating supply price approach spreads the payback over decades and thereby requires our children and grand children to contribute much, much more to the project's cash flow. This allows the project to show potential investors a good "business case" from a "cash flow" perspective, keeps initial rates down for us (thereby making the project more politically and publicly palatable). ++++++ Nalcor claims that the cost of producing Muskrat Falls power is only $76/MWh. It seems to me that they can make that claim because, one, they changed how they calculate rates from a "cost of service" to an "escalating supply price" approach (spreading the payback over a very long time, future generations), and two, their calculation is based on producing 824MW (much more than our island needs). If costs were properly calculated on only the amount that even they say we need (330MW), then the cost would perhaps be more like $190/MWh --- more than double the cost per MWh of power for available from on-island small-hydro, wind, biomass or other electrical power generation options. ++++++++ Nalcor claims that getting ownership of the NS/NL maritime link after 35 years is an asset. In fact, the NS/NL maritime link will then be nearing the end of its useful life and NL will then be liable to replace it at a cost that will be in the billions of dollars. So that will be more of a liability than an asset. ++++++ Nalcor and the Province make up a minority on the committee that will determine the conditions under which NL will get a loan guarantee. That makes for a weak negotiating position for the province related to any conditions associated with a possible default, putting the control of the Muskrat Falls generating station and the maritime transmission links at increased risk (all in an effort to keep costs down and make the project appear viable). +++++++ With Muskrat Falls, if consumer rates increase by 50 % or 100%, then that means a total 50% increase or a total 100% increase in a consumer's electricity costs. Whereas, since Holyrood only provides only about 15% of the islands electricity needs, even if oil costs were to double, that would amount to only a small percentage increase (perhaps 15%) in the total cost of electricity to the consumer. +++++++ the fact is, that oil costs are going down --- not up. ++++++++++ If Nalcor's forecast were corrected (even using Nalcor's flawed demand model) to reflect ACTUAL year 2010 demand figures, our existing installed net capacity of 1,958 MW would not be breached until well after year 2041.

  • ranter
    October 07, 2011 - 06:48

    Recall Smallwood's comment to a reporter, "the people of Gander didn't want their member to sit on the wrong side of the House." Collins' reply was that the people of Gander "are not interested in where their member sits, it's where he stands." Voters should remind themselves of where Dunderdale stands - next to Harper! Buddying up to the problem will not serve our province well.