The province announced the addition and replacement of 2,200 long-term care rooms Monday, as part of its infrastructure plan.
Barbara Adams, minister of seniors and long-term care, announced the rooms will be ready by 2032. The rooms include 800 additional long-term care rooms and the replacement of 1,400 existing rooms.
The province announced in January the construction 1,200 new rooms and the replacement of 2,300. With this announcement, the number of long-term care rooms totals to 5,700 for the year.
“Now, 2032 may seem way off, but it is closer than you think,” she said.
Eight thousand Nova Scotians currently live in long-term care facilities and 22 per cent of the population are seniors — the third-highest percentage in the country.
Each of the these new living spaces will contain single rooms, with their own private washroom. The province is contracting several long-term care providers for the new facilities and to replace existing ones.
“By investing in long-term care, we are also reducing the pressure on our hospitals and emergency rooms,” said Adams.
Construction of these new rooms will take place across Nova Scotia this fall. Three hundred and thirty six rooms will be added to the following HRM communities, according to the province:
- On Seton Road in Halifax, a new 144-room nursing home — operated by Shannex.
- On Starboard Drive in Bedford, a new 144-room nursing home — operated by Shannex.
- On Westwood Boulevard in Tantallon, an additional 48 rooms will be added to the facility and it will increase the size to 144 rooms — operated by GEM Health Care Group.
Adam says she knows the choice of moving into a long-term care facility can be a “difficult one.”
“I know when we made it with my mother, it was the toughest decision we ever had to make,” said Adams.
She assured the new facilities will be staffed appropriately and provide the level of care needed.
All the new nursing homes are expected to have 4.1 hours of standard nursing care per person. Adams said more announcements on the progress of these rooms will be made in the following weeks.
The province estimates each room will cost $160,000 in annual operating grant funding.
Jason Shannon, the president of Shannex, one of the largest providers of long-term care in the province, attended the announcement. He said construction today is a challenge, but the company has been “building nursing homes in other jurisdictions for a long time,” and has its permits ready to start building.
Heather Hanson, vice-president of Shannex, said more beds is a “good thing,” but a major concern is staffing.
“As we heard last week in public accounts: 900 people on the waitlist,” said Hanson. “They do not have enough people to staff these…the homes we have now, so that’s our big concern.”
Shannon said the company has three international missions in Morocco, Singapore and the Philippines that are recruiting new workers.
Mahmood Hussain, director of people relations at GEM Health Care Group, another long-term care provider, was also present at the event. He said staffing has been a challenge, but working with the government on subsidizing Continuing Care Assistant training has helped people enter the care-giving career.
He also said the company worked with the province to recruit people from the Philippines over the last decade and says it “has helped 500 families immigrate from the Philippines. That’s where our people are from.”
About the author
A Filipino reporter now based in Halifax, N.S. Awarded as one of the outstanding interns at the newspaper outlet 'The Freeman' in 2021. Graduated...