Minister of Health Adrian Dix announces new long-term care beds

495 new long-term care beds

UPDATE: 11:10 a.m.

Dix announced Monday morning the provincial government is committing to 495 new long-term care beds within the Interior Health region.

This includes 140 in Kelowna, 100 in Kamloops, 90 in Penticton, 90 in Vernon and 75 in Nelson, and adds to the roughly 6000 long-term care beds already present in the IH region. 

Requests for proposals for those beds will be made today, says Dix. Proposals will be assessed in the fall, announcements on successful proponents will be made in December and building will begin early 2021. 

"This is a significant day," says Dix.

"COVID-19 has demonstrated to us the central vulnerability in this particular time of people living in long-term care to this infection for which there's no vaccine and no cure. But we also have a broader question of improving care standards and ensuring all of us in the future have access to the care we need when we need it."

In five years time, the IH region will be home to 28 per cent more people aged over 75 than there are today, says Dix.

He says the growing seniors population is a significant challenge in our health system, and addressing the issue of long-term care is of utmost importance. 

"We need to address the issue of long-term care and we're doing it by improving staffing, improving standards, importing working conditions, and across British Columbia, increasing the number of beds. I think this is important as long-term care changes and as the challenge of long-term care changes. 

"What is fundamental to me is not just that we have long-term care homes like these ... but also that throughout our lives, as we live longer - especially as seniors from the age of 65 onwards, our life expectancy continues to rise - that we continue not just to live longer and be supported in that and kept safe in that, but that we live well.

"Having new long term care beds - a significant number in the Interior Health Authority - is going to make a big difference in that." 

More than $1 billion will be invested by the provincial government over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care, assisted living and respite services.

This includes $240 million over three years to increase staffing levels in long-term care homes, with the goal of achieving the target 3.36 direct care hours per resident day - on average - across all health authorities by the end of 2020-21.

ORIGINAL: 10:40 a.m.

B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix will be joined by Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, and Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston, to provide an announcement on long-term care in the Interior region. 

Castanet will livestream the announcement starting at 10:45 a.m.

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