Nelson’s Mountain Lake Seniors Community is one of two seniors care facilities in the city. Interior Health announced Monday that 495 new long-term seniors care beds will be added to Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton. Photo: Tyler Harper/Nelson Star

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Vernon and Nelson will receive 495 new long-term care beds for seniors.

The Ministry of Health announced Monday it was increasing the number of beds to make up for an expected 28 per cent increase in the population of people aged 75 years and older over the next five years within the Interior Health region.

Kelowna will receive 140 beds, Kamloops will see 100 added, while Penticton and Vernon will have 90 added in each community. Nelson meanwhile will have 75 new beds.

The announcement will increase long-term care beds in Interior Health by nearly 10 per cent to 6,550.

“Across those communities, you’re going to see significant improvements in care,” said health minister Adrian Dix.

“We need to address long-term care and we’re doing it by improving staffing, improving standards, improving working conditions and across British Columbia increasing the number of beds.”

Five requests for proposals were issued last week. The ministry said it plans to consider proposals in the fall and award contracts in early 2021 when it also expects construction to begin.

Interior Health president Susan Brown said the communities chosen for the new beds were picked for their projected populations and demographics, admission wait times, and the complexities of care needed.

She added changes made to seniors care during the COVID-19 pandemic will also play a role in how the new facilities are built.

“We know that it has been especially challenging for those living in long-term care and their families,” said Brown. “We are committed to taking what we have learned over the past couple of months and applying it to these projects.”

No specific locations were mentioned in the announcement except for Nelson, where Brown said Interior Health wants to use land at an abandoned hospital.

Dix added he expects each project will be located on one site per community.

“What this reflects is existing numbers of beds in those communities and the demand of the population over 75.”

The ministry said in a statement that the average age of residents in care facilities is 84.

In 15 years, 25 per cent of B.C.’s population is projected to be 65 years and older, up from 19 per cent last year.

READ MORE: Interior Health identifies more locations with COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna

READ MORE: Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Downtown Salmon Arm cancels Halloween Treat Trail

First time in 30 years community event won’t be taking place

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program

Program available to low-income residents in the region

Salmon Arm Pride Project festival planned for October

Exhibition designed to bring awareness to LGBTQ2S+ issues through the arts

Need for housing in Salmon Arm climbs while units being constructed

More demand for temporary shelter and much earlier than in 2019

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Known Kelowna Hells Angels associate to face trial in October

Colin Michael Bayley is set to stand trial next month for an alleged aggravated assault

Most Read