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.