De­men­tia beds face clo­sure

Char­lot­te­town not-for-profit nurs­ing home could cut 41 beds if the prov­ince doesn’t in­crease fund­ing


“Over years, we've been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ma­jor fi­nan­cial­stres­sors the due last to num­ber the lack of of fund­ing that we're re­ceiv­ing from gov­ern­ment. We're hope­ful that gov­ern­ment will come back to the ta­ble and we won't have to go in this di­rec­tion." Vic­tor Shea, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of nurs­ing homes with At­lantic Bap­tist Se­niors Homes Inc.

The P.E.I. At­lantic Bap­tist Nurs­ing Home in Char­lot­te­town has put a halt on ad­mit­ting new res­i­dents and says it may be forced to close 41 beds if the prov­ince doesn’t in­crease its fund­ing.

“Over the last num­ber of years, we’ve been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ma­jor fi­nan­cial stres­sors due to the lack of fund­ing that we’re re­ceiv­ing from gov­ern­ment,” said Vic­tor Shea, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of nurs­ing homes with At­lantic Bap­tist Se­niors Homes Inc.

“We’re hope­ful that gov­ern­ment will come back to the ta­ble and we won’t have to go in this di­rec­tion.” Cur­rently, the nurs­ing home has 116 beds with 26 peo­ple wait­ing for place­ment. Shea said the nurs­ing home is the only not-for-profit one in the prov­ince. He said the sides failed to agree to a fund­ing in­crease dur­ing the sum­mer.

As a re­sult, an ar­bi­tra­tion hear­ing has been set for the end of Oc­to­ber. But, Shea said, by the time a de­ci­sion is ren­dered in the new year, it will be too late be­cause the nurs­ing home is los­ing too much money.

“If noth­ing changes be­tween now and De­cem­ber and gov­ern­ment doesn’t come to the ta­ble with an in­crease, by Dec. 18, we will de­crease to 75 beds,” he said. “We can­not wait for the out­come of ar­bi­tra­tion.” The 41-bed re­duc­tion would also in­clude beds in the de­men­tia unit.

Shea said if an agree­ment can’t be reached, the process would be­gin to move res­i­dents out of the nurs­ing home. But he added if a bed can’t be found else­where for a res­i­dent by Dec. 18, the res­i­dent would re­main un­til a bed is found.

Shea said the home needs an ad­di­tional $23.50 daily per res­i­dent to break even. He said the is­sue is the nurs­ing home is re­quired to meet the same stan­dards and staffing lev­els as gov­ern­ment-funded nurs­ing homes, but it re­ceives less money than pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties. As a re­sult, Shea said, the nurs­ing home has had a grow­ing oper­a­tions deficit the past cou­ple of years. In 2016-17, the deficit was more than $850,000. Shea said the nurs­ing home is still open be­cause of fi­nan­cial sup­port from other se­niors’ homes in New Brunswick and Nova Sco­tia that are part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“It’s quite con­cern­ing,” he said. “I have faith that gov­ern­ment will come to the ta­ble again. I re­ally do.”

Kevin Barnes, di­rec­tor of health pol­icy and pro­grams with the Depart­ment of Health and Well­ness, said it is “quite re­gret­table” the nurs­ing home has de­cided to close 41 beds.

“It cer­tainly is con­cern­ing to gov­ern­ment from the per­spec­tive of the po­ten­tial im­pact on the res­i­dents at that fa­cil­ity,” he said.

Barnes ex­plained pri­vate nurs­ing homes on P.E.I. re­ceive $181.40 per res­i­dent, per day. The rate cov­ers health-care costs and ac­com­mo­da­tions.

“There cer­tainly hasn’t been any re­duc­tion in the rate,” he said.

Barnes sug­gested an ex­pan­sion at the nurs­ing home in Sher­wood might have had a role in its fi­nan­cial chal­lenges. “It would ap­pear that in At­lantic Bap­tist’s par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, their cost struc­ture and the work that they’ve done to ex­pand the fa­cil­ity, they’re find­ing that rate to be a bit of a chal­lenge in terms of their fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity. And, pre­sum­ably, that’s what brought them to this de­ci­sion,” he said.

If ar­bi­tra­tion de­ter­mines a rate in­crease is war­ranted, it would ap­ply to all the pri­vate nurs­ing homes on P.E.I. Shea dis­agreed about the role of the ex­pan­sion in the nurs­ing home’s fi­nan­cial chal­lenges. He ex­plained that ex­pand­ing the fa­cil­ity has brought in money that helps the nurs­ing home op­er­ate while in a deficit. The ex­pan­sion, Shea said, has apart­ments for in­de­pen­dent liv­ing and they are not a part of nurs­ing care.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.