A nursing home in Embrun is closing this summer, and the owners of a nursing home in Limoges are hoping to build a new facility. These are symbols of the challenges facing privately-owned long-term care facilities in Eastern Ontario.
The Foyer St-Jacques Nursing Home on Notre-Dame Street in Embrun is for sale with an asking price of $2,950,000. The long-term care facility is closing on August 31. The business is not for sale and the ownership has decided not to renew the facility’s licence.
According to owner Yvon Brisson, there was severe water damage inside the Foyer St-Jacques building in February 2023 when a pipe burst.
“So much damage, it was not worth fixing it,” Brisson said.
The facility’s current operating licence from the Ministry of Long-Term Care (MLTC) expires in 2025. Brisson said it was possible to have that licence extended due to the shortage of long-term care facilities.
The 22 residents affected by the water damage in February were able to be accommodated elsewhere in the building. There are currently 33 people living at Foyer St-Jacques. During June, the Ministry of Long-Term Care will prioritize assigning the residents to new facilities through its placement coordination program. Brisson acknowledged it will be difficult for all residents to be placed in facilities close by.
“It is a challenge,” he said.
Administrator Ginette Beaudin said no resident will be left behind in the effort to find them a new home.
“While we anticipate operations will wind down sometime in late summer 2023, Foyer St. Jacques Nursing Home will not formally close until each and every one of our 33 residents are comfortably settled at their new home,” she said.
Beaudin said a series of meetings have been organized to help residents and their families through the process and answer any questions they have.
“Each resident and their family have been connected to a Care Coordinator from Home and Community Care Support Services Champlain (formerly known as the LHIN) who will help families review homes in the area, complete applications, and support the entire transition process,” she explained.
Foyer St-Jacques Nursing Home will also manage all moving logistics and cover relevant moving costs for residents.
Brisson said 75 people currently work at Foyer St-Jacques. Some of them are retiring and others will go to work at other facilities.
“There’s a lot of demand for these people,” he said.
Foyer St-Jacques was built in 1980. Brisson said another challenge is continuing to meet changes to care standards and building codes.
Nearby in Limoges, the owners and management of the St-Viateur Nursing Home, the owners are hoping to build a new facility, but it all depends on finances and the cooperation of the MLTC.
According to Director Benoit Marleau, the ministry has given St-Viateur permission to redevelop their facility with 71 beds, but they would like to build an entirely new 128-bed home. The current St-Viateur home, which was built in 1986, has 57 beds but only 41 are in use due to continued COVID-19 restrictions.
Benoit’s father Richard Marleau is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the facility. Richard Marleau purchased St-Viateur in the early 1990’s from Jean Brisson.
“I grew up in this world and I’m quite concerned,” Benoit Marleau said about the future of long-term care and private facilities.
He said with so many operating licences—including St-Viateur’s, set to expire in 2025, homeowners are in a position of having to go big, or go out of business.
“It’s easier to rebuild, or you close. There’s no in between,” Marleau said.
He noted that unlike not-for-profit facilities like the Centre d’accueil Roger-Seguin in Clarence Creek, which is currently planning a redevelopment project, private facilities cannot fundraise.
Marleau explained that private homes receive four figurative envelopes of funding from the MLTC. If any funds from three of those envelopes are not spent, the home must return the unused money to the ministry. Only unspent funds from the accommodation envelope are allowed to be retained by the home for care-related expenses.
For redevelopment, St-Viateur may apply for a 35-year licence but must find the capital for the project. Marleau said the MLTC does offer a reimbursement formula for the capital costs. However, the estimates for the cost of the new St-Viateur development have not been formulated yet.
“The numbers have to add up,” Marleau said.
He added that they are currently in the final steps of the design process for the new facility.
“We’re hopeful that by the fall, we’ll have something to present to the ministry,” he remarked.
The new St-Viateur Nursing Home will be located beside the current facility on Limoges Road.
Marleau said the MLTC is pushing private long-term care facilities to redevelop, but regulatory changes made back in 2010 have also forced many smaller private operators to leave the business.
“We have to innovate in a different way,” he said.