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Dangerous trend for the region’s long term care homes

To The Editor

Readers of The Review could read in the March 24 edition, two articles concerning long term care homes in our region.  One was regarding the construction of a new building to host the Residence Prescott-Russell and the other one was informing the readers that L’Orignal’s Champlain LTCH would be closing in the next few years and that all its beds would be relocated in Orléans.

To help the UCPR build the new Hawkesbury LTCH, the Ontario government will be supporting the $83-million project with a $70-million loan to the Corporation of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, through Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO’s) Loan Program. Added to the above are funds coming through Construction Funding Subsidy Policy for Long Term Care Home, 2015. With this policy, the Ministry will provide per day, per bed, for 25 consecutive years, a minimum sum of $16.65 to the LTCH eligible operator. It is worth noting that profit and non-profit LTCH operators are eligible to the above subsidy policy.

Why this interest in building new residences? Some would say because of the catastrophic impact of COVID in LTCHs in Ontario.  True the impact was bad but the construction or up-fitting of residences was decided in 1998.  At that time, it was decided by the ministry that all residences built according to the 1972 specifications or earlier specification would have to be remodeled, up-fitted or replaced by new construction by 2025.

Keeping this in mind, I suddenly came to the conclusion that the offer of LTCH beds in the most eastern part of Prescott County is in danger.  Here is a list of the LTCHs that could be chosen by a local family to provide care for its loved one, if you want this loved one to be close to you and to still feel being in a non-urban environment.

Caressant Care Bourget 60 beds For profit Class C Owned by Caressant
Centre d’accueil Roger Séguin, Clarence 110 beds Non-profit Class C
Champlain LTC Residence, L’Orignal 60 beds For profit Class C Owned by Arch, to stop operation in a few years
Pinecrest, Plantagenet 60 beds For profit Class B Owned by Southbridge Health Care Group
Residence Prescott-Russell, Hawkesbury 144 beds Non-profit Class C UCPR
The Palace, Alexandria 70 beds Profit Class C Owned by Southbridge Health Care Group
Maxville Manor, Maxville 122 beds Non-profit Class B

 

In this table, all class C must be remodeled or closed to be reconstructed by 2026 because they were built according to 1972 specifications. Furthermore, class B homes received a license for a 10-year term, ending in 2030. It means, that all the LTCHs in our region except two must be “renewed”. But look closely. For a total of 250 beds, Bourget, L’Orignal, Plantagenet, Alexandria are owned by big for-profit corporations.  Arch has made public that it will be moving all its L’Orignal beds to Orléans, building a 224 bed LTCH. Many corporations, like Extendicare, plan to build new residences and to transfer residents to these new locations.

So I do feel the possibility that our region will lose beds for our elderly citizens. The provincial government has not added the obligation, in its grant and subsidies policy, to construct a residence replacing the old one, within a 10-kilometre radius.  That condition was essential.

Residence Prescott-Russell, with a constant waiting list of 100 and more persons for the last three years, will not be able to fill the needs.  The new residence, that will be operating in 2023, offers 80 more beds.  This new residence is being built not to receive closed beds from the surrounding LTCHs, but to service the increasing aging population of this area.

I would also like to point to your attention the vocabulary I used.  It is the ministry’s wording. This vocabulary prefers the word BED instead of PERSON. Sad.

Diane BORRIS
L’ORIGNAL

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