Dec. 3, 2009
SAINT JOHN and EDMUNDSTON (CNB) - A major overhaul of the province's nursing home infrastructure was announced today by Premier Shawn Graham in Edmundston and Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny in Saint John.
"We are launching the largest and most comprehensive plan ever undertaken for nursing homes in our province," Graham said. "Strategic investments are being made to renew and revitalize the province's nursing home infrastructure. With New Brunswick's senior population expected to double over the next 20 years, the capital renewal and replacement plan for nursing homes has arrived at a critical point in the delivery of long-term care services."
Graham made the comments at the Foyer Saint-Joseph de Saint-Basile in Edmundston, where he was joined by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault.
"We are moving forward aggressively with our commitment to create 700 new beds over the next 10 years," Kenny noted. "The capital renewal and replacement plan is an integral part of our ongoing effort to achieve this important goal in caring for our seniors."
Kenny made the comments at the Loch Lomond Villa in Saint John, where he was joined by Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty.
Under the plan, 11 nursing homes will be replaced with new facilities, and two new nursing homes will be built, in Neguac and Dieppe. Five nursing homes will undergo major additions; 31 will be renovated; and six will undergo minor repairs.
The total investment in nursing home infrastructure in New Brunswick will reach $400 million over the next five years. Work will start in the spring of 2010 as projects are tendered. All new facilities are expected to be completed by 2016-17. A total of 297 new beds will be created across the province.
These new nursing home beds will be in addition to the 403 beds already being added to the long-term care system, including the 216 beds opening in 2010 through a public-private-partnership.
Projects will be funded through bank loans to individual nursing homes as authorized by Social Development. Cost recovery for new and upgraded facilities will be calculated into the provincial funding provided for nursing home services each year. The province does not own nursing homes. It funds 85 per cent of nursing home operations in New Brunswick, totalling more than $220 million annually.
The New Brunswick Nursing Home Association welcomed its involvement in this initiative.
"We are ecstatic that the Province of New Brunswick is dedicated to adding 700 beds in the province's nursing homes," said Marcelle Fafard-Godbout, association president. "The association, comprised of all 62 non-profit nursing homes, is happy to see the government is committed to improving the lives of our seniors. Our association hopes to continue its positive relationship with government to better the lives of those who need it most."
The infrastructure improvements will provide more spacious facilities, new equipment and better ventilation, improved quality of space and more privacy and personal space for nursing home residents.
All new homes will follow one design and construction model. Nursing homes operated by non-profit organizations will work with the provincial government in following the standardized model for each new facility. This consistent approach will allow for substantial savings in time, design and building costs. About 3,600 construction jobs will be created across the province over several years.
More information on the nursing homes to be built and replaced, expanded, renovated and repaired is available online.
Any projects already under construction or previously approved will proceed as usual.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Marie-Andrée Bolduc, communications, Office of the Premier, 504-444-2286; Judy Cole, communications, Seniors Services, 506-444-3522.