Record-Breaking Nursing Bed Waitlist Hits New Brunswick


With freshly published figures from the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights, the province of New Brunswick faces a distressing reality. The data, which was unexpectedly high, reveals that close to a thousand New Brunswick citizens are currently on the waiting list for a nursing bed – the largest the number has ever been.

By the end of August, the count was 984 individuals, with 523 of those waiting within hospital walls. The city of Moncton emerges as the area of primary concern. This, despite the growth New Brunswick continues to embrace, is indicative of a need for immediate adjustments and provisions.

In a deeper dive into the numbers, the following areas were noted:

  1. Fredericton: 152 in total, with 79 waiting in hospitals.
  2. Woodstock: 55 in total, with 21 waiting in hospitals.
  3. Miramichi: 91 in total, with 51 waiting in hospitals.
  4. Edmundston: 40 in total, with 16 waiting in hospitals.
  5. Restigouche: 58 in total, with 27 waiting in hospitals.
  6. Bathurst: 83 in total, with 53 waiting in hospitals.
  7. Acadian Peninsula: 59 in total, with 36 waiting in hospitals.
  8. Moncton: 280 in total, with 136 waiting in hospitals.
  9. Saint John: 137 in total, with 87 waiting in hospitals.
  10. St Stephen: 5 in total, with 4 waiting in hospitals.
  11. Sussex: 24 in total, with 13 waiting in hospitals.

The province-wide figure tallies to 523 people waiting in hospital, 984 waiting for a bed overall. This large number of people biding their time in hospitals threatens to have a chain reaction on the rest of the healthcare system, particularly given the extant staffing shortages. Hospitals, inherently, cannot provide for seniors’ needs in the same manner as nursing homes – a resulting concern for the healthcare community.

Executive director Cecile Cassista voices frustration over the government’s pace, urging for quick action. She believes the funding is there and should be allocated for elderly care. Back in April, the coalition submitted proposals and recommendations to counteract this widespread issue. They suggested drawing from models such as the Manitoba model, in effect since 1974, and the Saskatchewan model from 1978.

Cassista stresses that the effort of moving seniors out of Social Development and into a separate ministry needs to be prioritized. While the Department of Social Development insists it is working internally and externally to ensure seniors receive care, the reality falls short. Despite having opened 120 new nursing home beds since January 2023, with an additional 60 beds set to be operational by fall, and provisions for relieving hospital pressures, the waitlist fluctuates constantly.

The province itself highlighted that nearly 150 new people seek nursing home beds in New Brunswick each month. Meanwhile, Cassista pledges that the coalition will persist in their advocacy and promotion of their Aging with Confidence approach, which champions for seniors to remain in their home setting for as long as viable.


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