A long-term care facility set up in Thunder Bay as a stop-gap to deal with the shortage of nursing home beds will shut down this year.

The North West Local Health Integration Network said that, by the end of October, other beds will be found for the 50 residents at the Thunder Bay Interim Long Term Care centre on South James Street.

Officials said the LHIN will work closely with the North West Community Care Access Centre and local health service providers to manage the transition. The facility opened six years ago under a temporary licence from the province and was expected to be in use for only three years.

Since then, "The North West LHIN has made significant investments in the community... including enhanced community support services, new supportive housing services, increased respite services and increased homecare services offered by the Community Care Access Centre," said Laura Kokocinski, CEO of the North West LHIN.

However, Kokocinski said closing the aging facility will result in a temporary increase in Alternate Level of Care patients taking up hospital beds. "We are expecting that there will be an impact on ALC in the hospital.  We are working with them to look at how we can mitigate that in the best possible way," she said.

The Thunder Bay Interim Long Term care facility has been operated by the private-sector company Revera.  It has 65 beds.

Kokocinski said because of its age, the building is no longer suitable.  She added that patients needing nursing home beds have been avoiding placement in the facility.