‘It’s not practical’: Veterans call for local care in rural Nova Scotia – Halifax

After serving nearly a decade aboard destroyers and submarines, Curtis Doucet hoped to spend part of his retirement at a facility in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

The facility is located at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital, where Veterans Affairs Canada provides long-term care services to veterans who served before 1953.

Like many veterans in his community, Doucet cannot access these Veterans Affairs Canada services unless he has been injured on the job. His only option is to be three hours from Halifax.

Doucet wants the federal government to change the criteria for access to Veterans Affairs Canada care, which would allow him to access care closer to home.

“If I ever had to go to a veteran’s house or something like that, it would be Halifax. And that’s in three hours,” Doucet told PKBNEWS.

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The idea of ​​leaving his family in Yarmouth doesn’t seem like an option.

“That won’t be practical.”

The Yarmouth facility is a Nova Scotia Health Authority hospital that the former area commander said opened with 25 beds exclusively for veterans. Today there are only five left. The remaining beds were allocated to people outside the military.

Veterans Affairs Canada said in a statement to PKBNEWS that what is done with beds outside of those prioritized for Korean War and World War II veterans is up to local authorities.

Veterans cannot pay their way into these long-term care facilities.

“Contract beds not used by eligible veterans may be used by the province for veterans eligible for community beds or for other residents of the province,” Marc Lescoutre of Veterans Affairs Canada said in a statement.

“The decision to allocate community long-term care beds rests with provincial, regional or local health authorities and varies from province to province.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority said it provides the “service” to Veterans Affairs Canada in Yarmouth, but only Veterans Affairs Canada ensures eligibility.

“From what I understand, there are a good number of veterans in this area waiting for beds and they should be the priority for those beds,” said veteran André Boudreau, who served for 40 years .

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“We understand that the province must fill these long-term care beds, but priority should go to veterans. »

Veterans who stay at the facility are advocating for more veterans to stay there. Residents believe there is camaraderie among other veterans.

Boudreau said the federal government needs to “step in” for local veterans so they can get the care they need when they need it.

The Canadian Armed Forces member said he would like to see a system where veterans are pulled from a smaller radius instead of traveling 300 kilometers to Halifax.

Veterans Affairs Canada said there are nearly 2,200 veterans in more than 750 retirement homes and other long-term care facilities across Canada.

– with files from Shelley Steeves

&copy 2023 PKBNEWS, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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