In the final days before the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) submitted its application for new long-term care beds to the province, it was told the number wasn’t enough.
“The LHIN (Local Health Integration Network) emailed us and said there was a lack of beds,” said Stéphane Parisien, CAO of the UCPR.
To help bridge the gap, the Champlain LHIN recommended applying for 78 beds rather than the initial 14 the UCPR was looking for. The beds would only become available in 2022.
Louise Lalonde is the administrator of the Prescott-Russell Residence. She says the LHIN’s recommendation didn’t come as a surprise.
“We see the need just in our waitlist,” she said. There are about 80 people currently on the waitlist and the wait ranges between six months and a year.
Lalonde added that the LHIN’s recommendation and support helps the UCPR’s case in applying for more beds.
All or nothing
The change does beg some important questions.
For one, if the UCPR is awarded all 78 beds, how will it affect the plans for the new residence?
During the meeting, Parisien said it could be the difference between building a two or three-storey residence.
The financial implications also aren’t clear.
“Realistically, with more beds, there will be a higher cost to the counties,” said Parisien. “I didn’t want to miss the opportunity for more beds.”
The current residence is undergoing a third party operational review; the results of the review will be presented to council in the coming weeks.
It isn’t clear yet if applicants can be awarded only a portion of the beds, meaning that right now, the UCPR has put all of its eggs in one basket. If the application for the 78 is refused then it could mean it wouldn’t get the initial 14 beds, either.
“I don’t have details at this point,” said Parisien, “all I know is there’s a great demand for beds across the province.”
The LHIN’s Eastern Champlain sub-region ranges from about Iroquois and Winchester all the way to the Québec border. According to the sub-region’s fact sheet, there are 97 long-term care beds for every 1,000 seniors over 75, higher than the LHIN’s 85-bed average.
However, the Eastern Champlain region also fared noticeably worse when it came to avoidable hospitalization, emergency visits for conditions best managed elsewhere and hospitalization for chronic conditions.