March 11, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is working to meet the critical need for nursing home beds through its partnership with Shannex New Brunswick Inc. and its $400-million capital renewal and replacement plan for non-profit nursing homes.
"In New Brunswick, we have a rapidly aging population," said Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny. "Some 800 seniors are waiting for a nursing home bed. Most of them are waiting in hospital. The demand for senior care is great and growing. Our budget for all senior care services, including nursing homes, now surpasses $430 million annually, a 31 per cent increase since 2006."
The province's partnership with Shannex New Brunswick Inc. will create 216 nursing home beds in 2010, helping to reduce waiting lists and alleviate demands on the health-care system. Seniors will be moving into these beds almost immediately.
"We are pleased to see the auditor general also recognized the urgent need for nursing home beds and noted that our contract with Shannex New Brunswick Inc. is reasonable," Kenny said.
Under the provincial government's five-year, capital renewal and replacement plan, 297 nursing home beds will be created, fulfilling the commitment to build 700 new beds in 10 years.
Under the plan, 11 nursing homes are being replaced; two new nursing homes are being added to the long-term care system; 31 are being renovated and six will undergo minor repairs.
"Our capital renewal and replacement plan addresses the province's demographic trends, the need for more long-term care resources of increased quality, and modern design, space and safety standards for nursing homes," Kenny said. "It outlines strategic investments in the nursing home sector to renew and revitalize the province's nursing home infrastructure and meet the changing and growing needs of an aging population."
The senior population in New Brunswick is expected to double during the next 20 years.
"Families dealing with frail, aging loved ones reach a real point of desperation, resulting in admission to an expensive hospital bed as an inappropriate last resort," said Ken McGeorge, executive director of York Care Centre and initial founder of the Atlantic Institute for Aging in Fredericton. "It is gratifying to see government taking action to increase the availability of nursing home beds as part of the resolution to this major problem. This action will enable many families to rest easily, knowing that their loved ones will be cared for in modern, high-standard facilities."
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Senior and Health Aging Secretariat, 506-444-3522.