Province working on solution to bed closures at Atlantic Baptist Home
The home will close 41 beds in December
Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Henderson met with staff and the families of residents at the P.E.I. Atlantic Baptist Home Thursday to discuss the province's plan to deal with the closure of 41 beds.
The home has 116 long-term care beds and announced earlier in September that it would be closing 41 of those, 31 of which are for people suffering from dementia.
Henderson says he understands the frustration family members are feeling about moving loved ones. His mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's, has had to move multiple times.
"I can certainly be empathetic to any family in that situation," he said.
"This isn't an issue that we've asked for, it's a situation that Atlantic Baptist Home has informed us of the changing of their business plan or business model."
Henderson said the province is developing a contingency plan originally meant to deal with instances of disease outbreaks, which would force residents out of homes.
Some private-care homes have built beds and entire wards, which have never been used, because government never provided them with the licences.
Henderson said the province currently licences 1,141 beds and doesn`t plan to increase that number.
The province is working with the homes that have extra beds to accommodate the 41 people that will no longer be able to stay at Atlantic Baptist.
Henderson said the province will have a list of 41 residents by next week, and will begin consulting with families to ensure a transition that is as "smooth as possible."
"If a particular home decides they want to add a dementia unit on, and staff it as a dementia unit … we can then go to those residents and the families of the residents to decide which is the most appropriate spot."
90 days notice
Henderson said the current agreement between homes and the province stipulates that any care facilities making changes to their operations need to give the province 90 days notice.
Atlantic Baptist fulfilled the requirement and Henderson is confident a solution for the residents being displaced will be found.
When the home announced the closure of the 41 beds, it cited a lack of government funding as the main reason behind the move.
The province is going to arbitration with the PEI Nursing Home Association over the contract that dictates how much of a subsidy government provides to private nursing homes.
Those hearings are in late October and families were told a decision is expected in November.
Even if that solves the financial problem for Atlantic Baptist, families were told by that time, their loved ones will already have been moved.
With files from Kerry Campbell