Representatives of the Northwest region Local Health Integration Network went before city council to explain their decision to close an interim senior’s home
Brake Repairs! Front Ends! Mufflers! Shocks!Not just mufflers - MINUTE MUFFLER, 677 Memorial Avenue. Open Monday-Saturday. Email: email@example.comClick here for details.
THUNDER BAY -- Despite public outcry and opposition from city council, the Revera Interim Long-Term Care Facility will close by the end of the month.
Officials with the North West Local Health Integration Network made that message clear at council Monday night. Council had asked representatives of the LHIN to come to a meeting to help clarify the closure of Revera.
The 65-bed facility is scheduled to close its doors on Oct. 31. The decision has received opposition from the public who criticize it for taking away beds in a time when Thunder Bay was already losing space at with the closure of the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital’s geriatric unit.
But Laura Kokocinski, CEO of the North West LHIN, said it wasn’t their fault that the interim facility is closing.
“Revera is a private operator and they have exercised their right under their contract to return the beds back to the province,” Kokocinski told council repeatedly.
“The timing of the closure was at the discretion of the operator. The private operator did not want to continue in the business. To ask the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the LHIN to stop the closure of the interim long-term care facility and the geriatric unit at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital is not going to happen.”
“We’re now looking at where those licenses will go and how we’re going to use the resources in order to in the short term provide additional support for people to remain at home.”
The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has 24 patients waiting for long-term care beds. Kokocinski said most seniors go to the hospital for an acute illness and aren’t necessarily making a decision to seek long-term care services and the LHIN has also made progressing in lower the wait times.
That’s why the province and the LHIN are looking at a home first philosophy, which was started a year ago.
“The philosophy is to have families move back to their home environment before they make decisions about long-term care,” she said. “As we look more and more into long-term care services, what are the actual beds we need? It’s difficult for people who are working there and who live there and we understand that. This is a success story and we understand the frustration that the closure causes.”
Joy Warkentin, chair of the North West LHIN, said at the time when the announcement came that Revera would close there were 15 empty beds. Given the choice for seniors, most would rather wait to go to one of the other long-term facilities than go to Revera, which is why there were empty beds, she said.
“People stopped choosing Revera,” Warkentin said. “If you look at the waiting list in Thunder Bay for knee surgery what you find is the waiting lists are high because they don’t have a provider. They decided ‘doctor so and so is the best so I’m going to wait for him.’ That’s the choice people have.”
McIntyre Coun. Trevor Giertuga pointed out that residents are paying $24,000 a day to keep those 24 patients at the hospital compared to $3,600 to have them at a senior’s home. Giertuga then asked how can the LHIN justify closing more beds when it means tax payers are paying more.
“Financially it’s irresponsible to keep them in hospital,” Giertuga said. “I’m not suggestion that we’re warehousing seniors or that we should. What I’m saying is from a financial standpoint, we’re paying $24,000 a day and we could be paying $3,600.”
Kokocinski responded by saying they are in the middle of a transition and it will take time for them to fully implement their plan.
Neebing Coun. Linda Rydholm said the ministry has a responsibility to look after seniors but are now closing both the LPH and Revera.
“We’re supposed to speak up for (seniors),” Rydholm said. “I think it is appropriate for the municipality to speak up on behalf of our citizens. You don’t shut down beds and say you take that money to keep more people in their homes. You don’t do that. Meanwhile, people who need beds wind up in the hallways because of gridlock.”
Click here to submit a letter to the editor.