For over a year, our government has been reviewing the nursing home renovation and replacement plan that was announced in 2009. This was an ambitious plan, but with the province’s fiscal situation and rising construction costs, this plan was beyond our means.
Our government took the nursing home plan in hand in the best interests of taxpayers of New Brunswick to make sure the long-term care services we need for our aging population are delivered in the right place at the right time with costs we can afford.
In partnership with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, a comprehensive review of the nursing home plan was undertaken. The review process consisted of three steps:
- a demographic review;
- an assessment of existing facility conditions; and
- a review of design standards.
As a government, we believe we have found the right balance with our approach.
The review identified $110 million in efficiencies and savings in nursing home construction. The new plan will create 57 more new nursing home beds than originally planned in 2009 for a total of 354 new nursing home beds across the province. In addition, 704 specialized residential care beds will be created across the province over the next five years for clients with Alzheimer or dementia who do not require nursing home care.
The specialized care beds will allow more seniors to transition out of hospital and into long-term care. They will help alleviate waiting lists and meet the needs of seniors who don’t require full-time nursing care.
These private sector facilities have the dual advantage of being a more appropriate residential environment for residents and families, while also being a less costly alternative to a nursing home setting.
Our review has produced substantial savings for the taxpayer, while also meeting the needs of our seniors and the long-term care system.
This is an outstanding accomplishment on both fronts.
Our government will be building, expanding and renovating nursing homes. Work will be done on every nursing home on the list and every home will benefit in some way. We will also be strengthening our partnership with the special care home sector to help meet the demand for services, reduce waiting lists and sustain the long-term care system into the future.
As our review determined, access to specialized care beds in all regions will better serve the demand for long-term care services and will complement the services offered in nursing homes.
I am proud to be part of a government that is working to meet the challenge of caring for a growing senior population based on the resources we have.
Our seniors will continue to receive the quality care they need and the dignity and respect they deserve. And, the taxpayers of New Brunswick will be reassured by a plan that is both affordable and appropriate in these difficult financial times.