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

Sternwheelers once plied Okanagan Lake

Vessels once transported passengers and goods along the Okanagan Valley

Fires ignite on Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie; Kamloops Fire Centre blazes holding

Crews working throughout region over holiday weekend to contain wildfires

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

New ICBC data shows number of collisions in South Okanagan, Similkameen, by city and street

Penticton, Oliver, Summerland top charts for most vehicle crashes in 2019

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Police watchdog investigates Kamloops RCMP after stabbing death

The IIO is investigating the police’s lack of success in locating the man charged in stabbing

Forty-three properties near Dry Lake, along Highway 5A, under evacuation alert

Wildfire has been burning out of control north of Princeton for two days

Wildfire near Merritt creates smoke for drivers on Coquihalla

Coldwater River fire was estimated at seven hectares Aug. 3 and classified as out of control

Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association: Who can’t access your business?

TOTA launches video to encourage proprietors to remove barriers

Shuswap pet nutritionist, raw diet advocate to be featured in national magazine

Sicamous-based Deanna Larocque building reputation for canine support

BC RCMP notify IIO BC of incident involving police dog in Kelowna

A suspect and a police dog were taken to receive medical treatment after an incident on Aug. 1.

Alberta man presumed to have drowned after cliff jumping in Peachland

Emergency responders began rescue efforts at around 2:40 p.m. on Aug. 1.

Most Read