Northwood to Add 28 Long-term Care Beds

Department of Health (To Jan. 11)

April 28, 2004 12:33 PM

Twenty-eight seniors in need of long-term care will have a new
home in Halifax this summer.

The province has reached an agreement with Northwood to open up
28 new long-term care beds in its Northwood Manor building.
Renovations to the facility are about to begin and will be
finished in August. These beds are the first of 33 beds announced
in January 2004, to help alleviate pressures in Capital Health
emergency departments.

"Caring for seniors is a priority of this government, as was
clear in the provincial budget," said Health Minister Angus
MacIsaac. "This new unit will provide the right level of care to
more seniors and help us to balance the needs of our health
system."

The new unit will provide residential care, for seniors who need
some help with personal care but do not require professional
nursing services. A shortage of residential care beds in metro
has meant that some seniors who were unable to remain at home
ended up in nursing homes, even though they did not require the
higher level, and higher cost, service. Adding these 28
residential care beds to the system will change that.

The additional beds will also reduce a backlog in hospital
admissions caused by people awaiting a transfer to long-term
care. Already pressure on Capital district emergency rooms is
easing since 21 long-term care transition beds were opened
earlier this month at the QEII Victoria General facility.

Rick Kelly, chief operating officer at Northwood, said he is
pleased to be working with the Department of Health to provide
residential services to seniors.

"For over 40 years, Northwood has responded to the changing needs
of seniors in our community. Whether it's providing affordable
housing to those living independently or offering appropriate
levels of care to those in need, Northwood has always been
there," said Mr. Kelly.

Access to long-term care beds, including residential care beds,
will continue to be managed through the Health Department's
continuing care single entry access program. Individuals will be
assessed by a care co-ordinator and the type of care will depend
upon the needs of the individual.

When the 28 residential care beds open, the transitional long-
term care unit at the QEII will close. Those seniors will be
occupying the existing nursing home beds that will be vacated by
people being transferred to the residential care beds.

In 2004-05, $24 million in additional funding has been added for
the long-term care sector. This investment will make it possible
to:
-- fully cover seniors' health care costs in nursing homes,
residential care facilities, and community-based options (January
2005);
-- make sure seniors will no longer have to sell off any of their
assets when applying for long-term care (January 2005);
-- address a number of operational pressures, including the need
for upgrades and renovations and for more hours of care and
training.

"We need to make confident change in the way we offer health
care," said Mr. MacIsaac. "We need to respond to community needs
in a planned way. We need to make sure that needed community-
based services for seniors are available now and in the future."


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     Twenty-eight seniors in need of long-term care will have a

new home in Halifax this summer.

     The provincial government has reached an agreement with

Northwood to add 28 new beds. These will be residential care beds

for seniors who need some personal care, but not nursing care.

     Currently, there is a shortage of residential care beds in

the Halifax area.

     These beds are the first of 33 long-term care beds announced

in January to help ease pressures in the area's emergency

departments.

     Health Minister Angus MacIsaac says caring for seniors is a

priority for government. He added that the new residential care

unit will provide the right level of care to more seniors and

help balance the needs of the health system.

-30-

Contact: Donna Chislett
         Department of Health
         902-424-5025
         Cell: 902-483-5352
         E-mail: chisledp@gov.ns.ca

         John Verlinden
         Northwood
         902-454-3377

njm         April 28, 2004      12:32 P.M.