Ottawa veterans centre rethinks role as funding shrinks
Perley Rideau looking to reinvent services for seniors
The Perley and Rideau Veterans' Health Centre is now contemplating a future without veterans as the aging soldiers from World War II and the Korean conflict die — along with the federal government's funding to those veterans housed at the long-term care facility.
Veterans of peace-keeping and more modern conflicts will receive long-term care like everyone else, under provincial funding.
The Perley Rideau, a sprawling, full-service facility in Ottawa's east end, houses 250 veterans who served in World War II or Korea. There are another 200 non-veteran residents.
With our funding changing over the next several years, it forces us to look at what we want to be in the future.- Akos Hoffer, Perley Rideau's CEO
About $50 million went into the Perley Rideau last year to care for residents. Of that, about $8.5 million came from Veterans Affairs Canada.
But these extra services could be in jeopardy, as the Perley Rideau starts to reinvent itself. The facility is now going through the process of planning its future without any extra federal money.
When the Perley Rideau was first built in the mid-90s, it was constructed as a chronic care hospital.
The hospital designation was shed a few years later, and some X-ray and diagnostic type facilities were mothballed.
Akos Hoffer, Perley Rideau's CEO, is now wondering if his centre could once again provide hospital-type care, and take in elderly patients that take up expensive beds at the Ottawa Hospital.
"Is there a way to provide hospital care on our site? That's certainly a direction the province of Ontario is encouraging larger organizations to think about," said Hoffer.
Hoffer says discussions with the Ottawa Hospital have already begun.
"With our funding changing over the next several years, it forces us to look at what we want to be in the future…It ties with our long range strategy and our vision."
That's a vision without veterans as the main focus and without the money that came with them.
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