Health PEI announced Wednesday that it is adding more spaces to its adult day program, which provides support for people caring for seniors at home — an announcement that has the PC Opposition raising questions about how the province will spend $25 million in health accord funding promised by the federal government.

The day program expansion will cost the province about $180,000 — money that won't come from the health accord funding.

Seniors can attend the program, which provides activities that help keep them active and engaged. Health PEI is adding 40 new spaces beginning this fall with the following changes:

  • Moving from two days to three days a week in Alberton and Souris.
  • Adding Saturday programs in Summerside and Charlottetown.
  • Extending daily operating hours in Charlottetown.

PCs looking for details on accord money

Darlene Compton, the Opposition's critic for seniors, said that's raised some eyebrows with MLAs on the opposite side.

"We definitely were hoping for some more details on where the money will go," she said. "Great to have an announcement about increasing the adult day program, but where's that $25 million going to go?

Henderson said his department has been busy discussing possibilities. However, he added that the province is still waiting on directives from the federal government on exactly how it can spend the money. 

Darlene Compton

PC MLA Darlene Compton says she wants to know how the P.E.I. government will spend the $25 million in health accord funding promised by the federal government. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"We have some theories and directions we're planning on heading, but it'd be premature to get into the details on that until we know exactly the statement of principles from the federal government," Henderson said.

Compton said she's not buying the government's excuses. She pointed out that in January when P.E.I. agreed to the health accord, the federal health minister singled out the province for its great plan for expanding home care. 

"So, if the federal minister thinks we have great plans, why can't Islanders find out what those plans are?" she said. "I think if you talked to any senior at home and family member looking after that senior, it's very urgent and very important. They want to know when there's going to be more assistance to keep their loved one at home."

No fundamental changes to home care

Henderson said the province may have more information on the funding this fall. However, he added Islanders shouldn't expect any major changes to how home care is delivered across the province. 

"We are not looking at any fundamental changes to the current delivery of home care," he said. "We're only looking at enhancements with the federal government's initiatives."

With files from Steve Bruce