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2013 Atlantic Journalism Awards Finalists


Slug/Label Crisis in Long-term Care
Date Aired or Published Nov. 15, 2014
Media outlet where first aired or published: The Chronicle Herald
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Short explanation of the story and how it developed:

To the judges, Please accept the attached eight-page special section as my entry in the Best Page Presentation category of the Atlantic Journalism Awards. These stories were published as part of The Chronicle Herald's five-day series entitled Crisis in Care, an investigation of the worrisome state of long-term care in Nova Scotia. Repeated provincial governments had promised to address the issue of Nova Scotia's rapidly aging population. We have heard promises of more nursing home beds, more funding and support to help the elderly and disabled remain in their own homes. But these promises have failed to keep pace with the growing number of Nova Scotians in need of long-term care or support at home. At last count, more than 2,500 people are waiting for long-term care in our province, in some cases up to a year. Experts on the issue warn that official statistics are likely conservative. Our newsroom began its research by publishing a small note in our paper asking readers to share their experiences with the issue. The response was immediate and overwhelming. From those responses, we selected a variety of experiences that painted a detailed picture of what families are going through: Women raising children while caring for aging, sick parents; elderly people living out their last days in hospitals (without social interaction or recreation) while they wait for more appropriate accommodation in nursing homes; spouses and children worried about the quality of care their loved ones are receiving in a financially strained long-term health-care system. We also wanted to know if there was a better way to handle this problem, so we set about finding communities that seemed to be doing a better job of caring for their elderly and if the same is possible here. The result was a five-day series that began with the attached eight-page pull-out section. Our newsroom was flooded with emails, phone calls, online comments, letters to the editor and requests from readers wanting to share their stories also. Our health minister has stated that improving the long-term care system is one of his top priorities. The Chronicle Herald's hope is that our attention to this issue will lead to positive changes for the families who are living this daily struggle. Respectfully submitted, Nadine Fownes, Presentation Editor and lead editor for this project

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