Seniors in the Comox Valley will soon have access to more long-term and end-of-life care as a new care facility is set to open early next year, according to the Ministry of Health.

The facility will have a total of 126 publicly funded beds divided into 120 residential care beds, two hospice beds, and four existing hospice beds that will move to the new facility from The Views at St. Joseph’s General Hospital.

“Our government is taking action to make sure the needs of frail, elderly seniors with complex conditions are met across the region,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health in the announcement.

“In conjunction with our action plan to increase direct-care hours, we are expanding the availability of residential and dementia care in the Comox Valley.”

To run the facility, Island Health chose Golden Life Management Corp for their experience with the full spectrum of facility-based seniors care.

Construction for the new care centre is set to begin later this year, and should be ready for occupancy in early 2020.

Further changes

Meanwhile, ownership of St. Joseph’s is transitioning to the Providence Reside and Community Care Society on April 1st, 2019. The new management is working with Island Health to identify potential areas for a care redevelopment plan.

The proposed redevelopment would bring a number of changes, like turning 21 temporary residential care beds into permanent ones and adding up to 10 more, transitioning the hospice beds into respite beds, and replacing the entire fleet of 116 existing residential care beds with new ones at The Views.

In the meantime, 52 temporary beds have been established in the community.

“It’s encouraging to see this work being done to address the growing need for residential care here in the Comox Valley,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox.

“With the addition of these new spaces and services, people facing complex care needs and seniors will have the flexibility and freedom to access the care they need in the community they love.”

In total, the province plans to invest $240 million into senior care over the next three years. Out of this fund, $6.4 million will be invested into Vancouver Island in 2019.