VICTORIA — The province has announced funding for the creation of 495 new long-term care beds within Interior Health, including 100 beds in Kamloops.
Health Minister Adrian Dix made the announcement from Victoria Monday (July 13), along with MLAs Michelle Mungall and Ronna-Rae Leonard, and Interior Health CEO Susan Brown.
Dix said the announcement responds to huge population growth among the demographic who need long-term care beds.
“In Interior Health, there are going to be 28 per cent more people over 75 in five years than there are today,” said Dix. “That is a substantial, enormous increase in the number of people over 75. Not seniors over 65, but over 75, which is obviously the largest group of people in terms of long-term care.”
Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have been issued for the 100 Kamloops beds, as well as 140 beds in Kelowna, 90 beds each in Vernon and Penticton and 75 beds in Nelson.
In a news release, the Ministry of Health says the beds together will represent a 10 per cent increase in the number of publicly-funded longterm care beds in Interior Health.
The ministry expects to award the construction contracts in early 2021.
Dix says the Kamloops beds will likely be built on one site.
“It would be my expectation given the sizes and the economies of scale that those 100 beds would likely be located on one site. The site that will be selected will be selected in the RFP process,” he said.
Criteria including the location of the facility and the level of care provided in the beds will be determined in the RFP process, according to Brown.
“Looking, obviously, at population growth is an important factor and where we see wait times for admission,” she said. “Also, the complexity of people going into care and what care they actually need. There is a subset of the population who may have dementia or other specific care needs where the environment may have to look a little bit different.”