Nova Scotia to add 500 new long-term care beds in Halifax
1,936 people across the province are waiting for a bed in long-term care
Nova Scotia's Progressive Conservative government has promised to open 500 new long-term care beds in the Halifax area in an effort to shrink the long list of people waiting at home and in hospitals for a spot to open up.
The province issued a tender Monday morning, looking for a supplier to build facilities that will house the new beds.
Barbara Adams, the minister of long-term care, said in a news release Nova Scotians are waiting "far too long" to get into long-term care, and adding more beds is part of the solution.
"Almost 2,000 people need a place in long-term care, and hundreds of them are waiting in a hospital," said Adams.
"We need to make sure people get the care they need, and hospital beds are available for people who need them. With an aging population that is amongst the oldest in Canada, the need for this investment is even more urgent."
As of Monday, there were 1,936 people on the long-term care wait list, with 333 waiting in hospital.
There are people waiting in all parts of the province, but Adams said about half are in the central health zone, where the new beds will be built.
The tender says the government pinpointed the central zone as the area with the greatest need for more long-term care capacity based on research and analysis of the wait list, as well as population trends and other factors.
The number of new facilities and the size of each will be determined by the tendering process, Adams said.
The tender provides for the possibility of adding to existing nursing homes, but only if the home is less than 12 years old.
Bidding on the tender closes on March 10. Any company that wins a development contract from the tender will have until March 31, 2025, to finish the job. Failure to meet the deadline will result in unspecified penalties, according to the tender.
In that time, the PC government will need to recruit and hire hundreds of additional long-term care workers, not only to staff the new facilities, but to make up for a long-standing staffing shortage.
Over the past year, some homes have had to close their doors to new admissions because of inadequate staffing.
Adams said across the province, long-term care is currently about 20 to 25 per cent short of the ideal number of staff.
"We [have been] moving heaven and earth in the last four-and-a-half months to make sure that we have the staff that we need right now," she said, noting that recent efforts include hiring recruiters and covering tuition for 2,200 continuing care assistants.
In the same announcement, Adams's department said it would continue with plans to expand or renovate 27 existing long-term care homes across the province — plans that were initiated last year under the previous Liberal government.
Only a handful of the homes slated for renovations were previously disclosed. The full list, released Monday, is as follows:
- Mahone in Mahone Bay.
- Villa Acadienne in Meteghan.
- Kiknu Long-Term Care Facility in Eskasoni.
- Taigh Solas in North Sydney.
- Waterford Heights in New Waterford.
- Grandview Manor in Berwick.
- Mountain Lea Lodge in Bridgetown.
- Shoreham Village in Chester Basin.
- Northwood in Fall River.
- The Birches in Musquodoboit Harbour.
- Foyer Pere Fiset in Chéticamp.
- R.C. MacGillivray Guest Home in Sydney.
- Queens Manor/Hillsview Acres in Liverpool.
- Dykeland Lodge in Windsor.
- Carefield Guest Home/Dominion Guest Home in Glace Bay.
- Harbour View Haven in Lunenburg.
- Wolfville Nursing Home in Wolfville.
- Gables Lodge in Amherst.
- Melville Lodge in Halifax.
- Glen Haven in New Glasgow.
- Victoria Haven in Glace Bay.
- R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home in Antigonish.
- Valley View Villa in Stellarton.
- Highland Manor in Neils Harbour.
- St. Anne's Community and Nursing Care Centre in Arichat.
- Roseway Nursing Home in Shelburne.
- Maple Hill Manor in New Waterford.
The first among those projects is expected to be completed sometime next year.
The projects include the replacement of about 2,000 existing beds and the addition of about 200.
The PCs are counting them all toward their election promise to create 2,500 new long-term care beds in their first three years in government. Combined with the 500 new beds out for tender, Adams said the promise will not only be met, but exceeded.