Private health care facilities seek help

Teresa Wright
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Health P.E.I.

The group that represents private community care facilities says they need help from the province to care for aging Islanders forced to wait extended periods of time for space in a nursing home.

Tanya Kingyens of the P.E.I. Association of Licensed Community Care Facilities says many of these private centres are struggling with the added costs of caring for patients who are on waiting lists for provincially run, long-term care facilities.

That’s why they are looking for funding assistance from Health P.E.I. to help them provide the additional staff to keep Islanders from having to resort to waiting for a nursing home bed in hospitals.

“In recent years the waiting list for long-term care has become quite lengthy and community care facilities have been caring for individuals for sometimes as long as two years,” Kingyens said.

Provincial legislation dictates these facilities must provide an added level of care for those determined to be in need of long-term care. But currently, private community care homes have had to simply to absorb the added costs of providing these additional services.

“What we’re looking to do is partner with and help the province, because they currently have a backlog of people in community care and in hospitals who require long term care,” Kingyens said.

The association, which represents 38 private community care facilities across P.E.I., is looking for $28 a day to help care for patients who are on waiting lists for nursing home beds.

But when she presented this request to representatives in the Department of Community Services, she was told that if a private facility cannot handle the costs to care for these patients, they should be sent to a hospital.

Kingyens said she thought this was an extremely insensitive response.

“I felt like they really did not understand that is a person, someone who is dependent on us to look out for them,” she said.

“We’re looking for the government to recognize that we provide a valuable service in keeping these people in community care rather than just sending them to the hospital… but in turn they have to recognize that it does increase our costs and at $28 a day, it would still be hundreds and hundreds of dollars less than having someone in the hospital and it would open up those beds who need surgeries and need hospital care.”

Opposition Leader Olive Crane says she is disappointed in this response from government.

“That’s not an appropriate response at all,” she said.

“We all know the hospitals are backed up with many people waiting for long-term care beds. That’s not a solution.”

Crane pointed out government pays the basic accommodation costs for those in a public nursing home.

“It’s only fair if someone is still in a community care facility that the community care facility receives those extra dollars while the person is waiting for the long-term care bed.”

Kingyens says her members are becoming frustrated because the association has made the request for additional funding now to the health department, but so far has received no response.

Cecil Villard, executive director of home-based and long term care for Health P.E.I., said he was not aware of the request but is willing to discuss the issue with the association.

“A lot of this information is new to me… but we’re always able to sit down and find a way to solve the problem by working together.”

He added there could be additional home care supports available to help address this situation.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: P.E.I. Association of Licensed Community Care Facilities, Community Services

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Recent comments

  • Stanley Murray
    January 12, 2013 - 19:53

    It is my understanding that these private care facilities are unregulated in this province.If this is true ,then the government should bring in regulations for certification,etc.? Most of them are now hiring temporary foreign workers since they can't retain locals and paying them minimum wage and are treating and working them like second class ,unlicensed workers, since they don't know their rights under the labour standards act,etc. I think this private sector of health care should be regulated by health care P.E.I. since the government is already subsidizing them heavily at the present time. I know some of them are unionized and pay and treat their care workers more fairly and humanly,,even TFW. I think the federation of labour should put a drive on to unionize all of them,then the working standards and conditions could be uniformly enforced,even for temporary foreign workers since labour standards rules are so lax in this province,before the government increases the subsidy

    • shirley keenan-goss
      January 15, 2013 - 05:37

      Mr Murray, You might want to get your facts prior to making comments. Licensed Community Care Facilities are regulated in the Province of Prince Edward Island and have been for many years. As for most hiring foreign workers that is false. there are several homes hiring foreign workers, not most as you are quoted. All who are employed in PEI are protected by labour laws as well as human rights.

  • Tom Paine
    January 12, 2013 - 07:06

    this story shows everything that's wrong with our system. First, these are PRIVATE facilities, so they provide private care. They shouldn't expect government help. But, that's our system, so you can't blame them. Then, the government response is send the people to a hospital! Hospitals are way more expensive than the 28 bucks a day these homes are looking for. What a mess.

  • John W.A.Curtis
    January 12, 2013 - 06:46

    The ghiz government indebted our province by over 600 million dollars spending to get themselves relected and have people in health pei who are arrogant to deal with. The people of prince edward island have to change and stop driving young people away or we will only have old people

  • PEI resident
    January 12, 2013 - 02:23

    Community Care Facilities costs alot to keep residents .The cost of living is going up Food Electric and heating costs There should be an increase given pay per day to help with the cost of keeping these facilties opened .We need these places for families to place their loved ones or also mental Health illness patients .I hope Cecil Villard takes a serious look at this situation ! Also the amount of staff they need to run a home for Residents !