The former St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox. File photo

Comox Valley getting 20 long-term beds

The beds will be located at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital

Seniors in the Comox Valley will be getting more access to long-term care.

Island Health and the Province announced funding to cover 20 new beds for the region on May 14.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release that the announcement helps ensure seniors will be supported and treated with dignity and is a step toward providing better care for seniors in the Comox Valley.

His colleague, Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox and Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health, said that families in the area want to know their seniors and loved ones are receiving the best care possible.

“That’s why I appreciate the steps Island Health has taken to address these needs and work to add more long-term care beds for their residents. By joining together, we can help each other in these times, and today shows our commitment and dedication to our community,” she said.

The addition of the 20 beds is also part of Island Health’s longer-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Providing our aging population with safe and supportive care is a priority for Island Health,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health board chair. “These new beds will create more long-term care spaces for seniors living in the Comox Valley, while supporting efforts to maintain reduced capacity in our hospitals during these uncertain times.”

Residents in this health region have helped make progress toward “flattening the curve” and avoiding a surge of cases in local hospitals, Island Health says, but adds the Provincial Health Officer has been clear about a potential second wave of COVID-19, especially during the fall. Creating new spaces in long-term care will allow Island Health to move alternate level of care patients out of hospital, continuing to reduce capacity in acute care beds and placing patients in a more appropriate setting to receive the care they need.

“This additional funding for 20 new long-term care beds demonstrates our commitment to provide the best care possible while we continue to respond to COVID-19,” said Mark Blandford, Island Health’s executive director of Primary Care and Seniors Health.

The 20 beds will be located in a refurbished unit at the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox. It is next to The Views at St. Joseph’s, a long-term care facility run by Providence Residential and Community Care Services Society.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Island Health in responding to an urgent community need,” said Jane Murphy, president and CEO of Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society.

RELATED STORY: Providence acquires The Views at St. Joseph’s

Work on the site is currently underway, and Island Health expects the beds to be ready to accept residents in the coming weeks. The beds will be funded to meet the province’s target of 3.36 direct care hours per resident day and will operate at St. Joseph’s until summer 2021. At that point, 120 permanent beds will open for the Comox Valley at Ocean Front Village on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay. In addition, the site will include six hospice beds.

RELATED STORY: Dirt turns on long-term care home in Courtenay

Last November, Premier John Horgan came to the community last November to break ground on the new site.

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