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.