Long-term care home updates
Care homes have been closing, but plans to mitigate impacts are taking shape
Care homes in Regina have been closing without due notice and without a solid plan from the government to address the growing need for long-term care. However, recent updates suggest the government is finally getting on top of the escalating situation.
The Government of Saskatchewan released news that the Regina Lutheran Home (RLH) will not be closed. Instead, Eden Care Communities is transferring ownership of the facility to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). The RLH provides up to 62 residents with long-term care.
Their website has not been updated, and states that, “[The] RLH is a special care home operated as an Affiliate of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. […] RLH consistently meets and exceeds the SHA’s quality indicators for special care homes.” With this information, it appears that the RLH is operating as normal, a blessing for the residents and family who may have feared eviction over the last month.
Tim McLeod, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health, stated that, “It is important to maintain these 62 beds as we work toward adding 600 long-term care beds in Regina. Keeping Regina Lutheran Home open will support the health care system’s ability to meet the need for long-term care in Regina while work to add more beds continues.”
In 2021, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement, and the SHA planned to add “nearly 250 specialized long-term care beds, to support the needs of residents with dementia, mental health needs and complex behavioural needs. This will be followed by the addition of more than 350 standard long-term care beds.”
The planned construction of a new care home to replace the Regina Pioneer Village in 2019 is also a part of this plan. As written by Larissa Kurz in the Regina Leader-Post, on October 11, 2023, the Regina City Council approved the “rezoning on two parcels of land along Regina’s southeast limits to allow a building development proposal from the Ministry of SaskBuilds and Procurement.” This land will be used to build a 240-bed long-term care facility to replace Pioneer Village.
Leah Lopez, the acting executive director of infrastructure programs at SaskBuilds, said, “This will create capacity to meet the broader needs of specialized care in Regina.” She also suggested that the close proximity to the University of Regina and Saskatchewan Polytechnic could be beneficial for future care aide training programs.
The development of the new facility is set to start in the summer of 2024, and the Pioneer Village will remain in operation until it is finished. This new build and the retention of the RLH and Pioneer Village are a great start to addressing the need for affordable, long-term care facilities.
However, the need still exists at present. There are around 350 beds remaining in the promise to add 600 in Regina. With the recent closures of multiple Private Care Homes in Regina, the need for immediate solutions seems to be rising.
The plans for the new facility will begin summer 2024, but the issue grows more stressful on the families of evicted residents who must cope with unaffordable long-term care throughout the winter. Still, these two actions of the government show they are looking to solve the affordable long-term care housing needs in Regina.