County Coun. David Parker said during a finance meeting this week that the Riverview Adult Residential Centre will be speaking with the county’s three MLAs to update them on new developments regarding admissions at the Riverton home.
He said he was told that, as of April 1, the home will not be accepting any new permanent admissions which in turn could end up decreasing the amount it receives in provincial funding because that is based on the number of people in its beds. He also expressed concern about the lack of supports for the new plan.
Patricia Bland, CEO for Riverview Home Corporation, said the province is working towards a model to better serve people with disabilities since 2013 that transitions more to community-based options and away from larger congregate areas such as adult residential centres.
This means more people with disabilities would live in smaller group homes that include four people and are staffed to meet their physical and mental needs. Currently the Riverview Home Corporation has three such homes in Riverton near the ARC and homes in Trenton, Westville and the rural county. Thirty-nine of its 90 residents currently live in smaller option homes.
Bland said ARC has done a good job of creating a community environment for its residents and they are taken to activities outside the Riverview home, but smaller homes makes it easier for residents to be part of their community because staff are able to take residents to activities more easily to interact with neighbours.
She said the government’s plan is a work in progress that she supports, but concerns have been raised over funding and the lack of supports in the community. These concerns were addressed at a recent meeting with The Department of Community Services that she said is committed to working with Riverview to determine which is the best way to move forward.
“The transition will take a number of years,” she said. “There is no consideration to closing the building or moving people out. It is a gradual transition over time.”
Heather Fairburn, a media spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services, said there is no change in the current admissions process at the ARC.
“We are continuing to work with the association and the facility to implement the transformation roadmap,” she said. “As we move along, we anticipate that we will no longer place new clients in ARC and RRC facilities, such as Riverview, on a permanent basis. They will, however, have the ability to accept new clients on a short-term basis, understanding that any new clients will have a plan and timeline developed to facilitate transition to a smaller community setting. Getting to the point in time when our clients are no longer living in larger congregate settings on a permanent basis is our joint goal and consistent with the transformation.”