Home Government BC Health New long-term care facility coming to Campbell River

New long-term care facility coming to Campbell River

BC Health is getting creative with long-term care spaces. Diversity of new facilities: not just for aging seniors who can no longer live independently, but also covering broader long-term health care supports. Takes pressure off mainstream hospital system & at-home caregivers.

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Announcing a new long-term care facility in Campbell River, July 19, 2023 (from left): Premier David Eby, Health Minister Adrian Dix, North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. [Composite / Island Social Trends]
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Wednesday July 19, 2023 | CAMPBELL RIVER, BC [Updated 7 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends


Today the BC Government rolled out another long-term care facility announcement, recognizing the needs of an aging population and one that is available locally. Today’s announcement was in Campbell River in the north Vancouver Island region.

The facility capital cost is expected to cost $135 million. The project is presently in the procurement phase. Construction is expected to begin in 2025 with the building opening aiming for 2026 or 2027.

comox, hospital

Funding is from the provincial government through Island Health with a $53.6-million contribution from the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District. The facility will be built, owned and operated by Island Health.

Blended use of spaces:

The facility is announced as having 153 long-term care beds. But the count of 153 beds is not just all for live-in aging seniors, as the term long-term care implies for most people. The 3-storey building will also include spaces for hospice (10 beds), convalescent care (26 beds) and specialized care such as brain injury (26 beds). That brings the traditional live-in care home capacity to 91 beds.

A similar blended-use long-term care facility was announced in Colwood a few months ago, in the south Vancouver Island’s west shore region — also set to open in 2027.

It’s important to make the distinction between traditional long-term care beds for seniors and other long-term care needs, as 63.2% of seniors in those traditional long-term care homes have dementia — a more specialized concern.

The live-in area will be comprised of ‘groups’ or ‘households’ of about 12 to 13 residents who have private living spaces but can share various living amenities including social spaces, to make it feel more like home.

Premier’s local announcement:

Today’s announcement was made by Premier David Eby on the facility construction site at 375 Second Ave, on the west side of the North Island Hospital, Campbell River campus.

premier, david eby, campbell river
Premier David Eby at long-term care announcement in Campbell River, July 19, 2023. [BC livestream]

“People in Campbell River and around B.C. deserve good health care at every stage of life, and that’s why improving high-quality long-term care is a top priority for our government,” said Premier David Eby. “This new long-term care facility will be a vibrant new home for seniors on Vancouver Island. Seniors deserve to age with dignity and receive the care they need in the community they know and love.”

Local MLA Michele Babchuk (North Island) was acknowledged for her persistent role in producing a long-term care facility for the region. “This new long-term care home will bring much-needed services for seniors in the north Island,” said Babchuk.

“The range of services in the new care home will give seniors, and their loved ones, peace of mind knowing they will be supported with the health care they need, close to home,” said Babchuk, who acknowledged many others at today’s announcement, including her father.

michele babchuk, mla, north island
Michele Babchuk, MLA (North Island) at long-term care announcement in Campbell River, July 19, 2023. [BC livestream]

Doug Hillian, chair, Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District said: “A new long-term care home in our region is desperately needed to shorten wait lists and provide elderly people and their families with more care options closer to home. We are grateful for the Province’s support and are proud to be a funding partner on a project that will improve the health and well-being of seniors living in the Comox Strathcona region.”

Kermit Dahl, mayor, Campbell River said: “Council is excited that increased access to long-term care services is coming to Campbell River and that residents will benefit from this important and necessary facility in future years. We appreciate this investment from the provincial government, Island Health and the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District and the support it shows the community. By working together on initiatives such as these, we can continue to make strides towards a healthy and liveable community, as highlighted in council’s 2023-2026 strategic priorities.”

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Dignified option for aging population:

“This new long-term care home in Campbell River will help to address the significant need for more long-term care beds on Vancouver Island, and it will go a step further,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

adrian dix, health minister, campbell river
BC Health Minister Adrian Dix at long-term care announcement in Campbell River, July 19, 2023. [BC livestream]

“By expanding the service to meet several other levels of care needs, we can ensure that people in the region will be supported in ways that they can live independently for as long as possible; and for those who need long-term care service, this home will be there for them to continue to live happy, fulfilled lives closer to their community.”

“We are delighted to be taking the next step toward building this new care home that will serve residents of Campbell River and area,” said Leah Hollins, board chair, Island Health, in a BC Health news release today. “People who reside in this new facility will live with dignity in a supportive, home-like environment.”

Long-term care communities provide care for people with complex care needs who can no longer live safely and independently at home, and who require 24-hour nursing care. The range of services will be delivered by trained staff.

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Announcement about news long-term care facility for the Comox region, in Campbell River, July 19, 2023. [BC Government]
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Household-style living spaces:

The care home will have two main buildings, each containing “households” accommodating 12 to 13 residents in single bedrooms with bathrooms, including one larger room to accommodate bariatric (obesity) residents or those with special equipment needs. It will also have the social and recreational spaces found in a typical home, such as a living room, dining room, activity space and access to the outdoors.

  • The specialized unit will support individuals requiring long-term care, but would benefit from specialized services to meet their needs. Examples are a younger adult population, or those experiencing challenges related to traumatic brain injury, mental-health or substance-use issues.
  • The convalescent unit will provide short-stay enhanced rehabilitation supports for seniors who would benefit from a period of rehabilitation before returning to their own homes.
  • There will also be a hairdressing salon, space for activities and special events, as well as space for an adult day program that will enable people to live independently in the community, while receiving services to support their well-being and health. A stand-alone daycare facility will also be built with capacity for 37 children.
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BC population continues to age:

To meet growing demand during the past five years, government has invested approximately $2 billion to expand and improve quality care for seniors in British Columbia, including investments in primary care, home health, long-term care and assisted living.

The overall population of BC increased by 250,000 in just the last two years (2021 and 2022), as people keep arriving from other parts of Canada and international locations (whether through the regular immigration stream or as refugees).

The larger baby-boomer component of the population (people born to the post-WWII impacted generation, i.e. people born approximately 1946 to 1964) continues to age, that puts a top-heavy load on housing needs, the health-care system, and on the labour force to provide services.

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===== RELATED:

260 long-term care beds for seniors coming to the west shore in 2027 (March 22, 2023)

Majority of seniors in long-term care have dementia, says Dix (March 22, 2023)

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Island Social Trends (following in the footsteps of its genesis publications MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, and West Shore Voice News 2014-2020) delivers socioeconomic news insights about life on the west shore of south Vancouver Island. Published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc.

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Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke, July 2021.

All news is posted at IslandSocialTrends.ca . Editor Mary P Brooke has steered the publication for 15 years. Ms Brooke has been nominated in 2023 for the Jack Webster Foundation’s Shelley Fralic Award for contributing to the community through journalism.

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