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New long term care beds ease Whitehorse hospital crowding

Renovations at the Thomson Centre long-term care facility in Whitehorse have created 10 new beds, freeing up space at Whitehorse General Hospital.

Renovations at Thomson Centre have added 10 new patient rooms

Last spring, the Yukon government budgeted $1 million to convert office space in the Thomson Centre into ten new rooms for long term care patients. (CBC)

More long-term care patients have moved into the newly-renovated Thomson Centre, freeing up some beds at Whitehorse General Hospital. 

Last summer, the Yukon government budgeted $1 million to convert office space in the building into ten new patient rooms.

The renovations have increased the number of beds in the Thomson Centre from 29 to 39. Additional staff were hired, to be ready for the new admissions on Tuesday.

'We're going to greet [patients] with pretend champagne,' said Thomson Centre manager, Katharina McArthur. (Mardy Derby/CBC)

"We're going to greet them with pretend champagne," said the facility's manager, Katharina McArthur. "Then, they will go through the admission process. We'll do an assessment.

"We help them get settled in their room, we show them everything."

The new rooms at the Thomson Centre will ease some of the pressure at Whitehorse General Hospital, where there has been a chronic bed shortage. Of the 44 available general admission beds in the hospital, roughly half are occupied by people who would qualify for long-term or extended care.

Right now, there are almost 200 long-term care beds in the territory. All are full.

Jason Bilsky, CEO of the Yukon Hospital Corporation, said the new Thomson Centre beds are a welcome addition.

"Most important is the fact that there are ten patients who will get the right care, in the right place," Bilsky said.

"It will help alleviate some of the pressure in the hospital. We're very congested, and have many patients who are looking for an alternative level of care, including extended care".

However, Bilsky says the Thomson Centre beds are just an interim solution.

He says the long term solution will be the opening of the 150-bed Whistle Bend facility. It's scheduled for completion in 2018.

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