Alberta Health Services is looking for a service provider to increase the number of continuing care beds in Red Deer.
There was a recent call for expressions of interest in the project to provide 30 to 40 new beds for dementia and assisted living patients, within an existing facility that requires no capital funding.
“We’re exploring the potential to increase our capacity for supportive living spaces within the city of Red Deer to accommodate the needs of individuals with a variety of care needs, including dementia,” Sissel Bray, executive director of seniors health Central Zone with Alberta Health Services, said on Thursday.
A fight to keep long-term care beds open at Valley Park Manor and Red Deer Nursing Home failed last year. The facilities were closed and patients were moved to Extendicare Michener Hill. That opened last fall with its 220 long-term care beds.
Health officials previously said the aging Red Deer Nursing Home building required too many upgrades to be used as a health care facility, but Valley Park Manor was in better condition and could be repurposed.
Bray said the intended site has not yet been identified.
“We will not know the location of these spaces until the successful proponent is identified. The location is totally dependent on who submits the response to the expression of interest.”
The expressions of interest is just the beginning. A request for proposals would be the next step.
Doug Janssen, vice-president with Central Alberta Council on Aging, said any new beds are good. But assisted living beds are not long-term care beds.
Long-term beds are for seniors who require the highest level of care. Assisted living for the new Red Deer project would be suitable for patients with higher health needs, but do not yet need to go into long-term care.
Assisted living also allows extra billing for uninsured services, he said.
“Long term is where the big shortage is. A number of the bed blockers that are in active treatment hospitals have care needs that are often times above that of continuing care and need the long-term care,” Janssen said.