On May 11, Grey County Council heard a summary of the public feedback on the long term care review and received more information about long term care operations and the marketability of the Grey Gables property. Council will consider all information presented before discussing long term care next at the May 25 session of committee of the whole.
Rockwood Terrace must be rebuilt by 2025 in order to maintain its Ministry license for 100 beds. In March, county staff recommended combining the beds from Grey Gables in Markdale and Rockwood Terrace in Durham into a new 166-bed facility in Durham. More than 500 people attended two public meetings and 123 people provided comments or asked questions.
“We heard a lot of valuable information today about the public’s concerns and the challenges we will be facing in long term care in the coming years,” said Grey County Warden Alan Barfoot. “I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend the meetings and to provide their feedback on this very important issue.”
Comments focused on a few key themes including:
- the distance between Markdale and Durham and transportation challenges, such as winter driving;
- the importance of Grey Gables to the community;
- opposition to perceived privatization;
- the impact amalgamating homes has on staff and residents of the homes;
- and, the need for seniors to access long term care in their home community.
Many personal stories and positive comments about the homes were also received.
The first staff report also included information about how long term care is changing and how these changes are impacting operations. Highlights of the report included:
- Trends like an aging population and high demand for hospital beds mean that long-term care residents are older with more complex healthcare needs. There is a greater need for more medical equipment (e.g. dialysis, IV therapy, etc.) and specialized training for staff. These costs are more difficult to absorb in a smaller home.
- The County currently faces challenges in maintaining necessary staffing levels and frequently uses external agency staff to fill gaps. This situation is likely to worsen with a significant number of possible retirements over the next six years.
- The cost to operate three homes is rising. The annual operating cost in 2007 was $18,852,697. In 2017 has risen to $27,093,024. In 2027 it is projected to reach $38,954,531.
- The province provides about half the funding for each long term care bed with the rest coming from the County and resident fees. However, in addition to providing more complex care, new provincial requirements are adding new services and administrative costs for tracking and reporting. Keeping all three homes would increase the County’s share of long term care funding by about 65% over the next 10 years.
- New design standards for long-term care mean that larger homes must create a small home environment with clusters of residents having their own social and dining spaces.
“Our residents deserve compassionate care in a comfortable home environment. We have serious concerns about our ability to continue providing this level of care with the challenges facing smaller homes in Ontario.” said Lynne Johnson, Director of Long Term Care. “Long term care has changed and we need to adapt. We can’t continue to operate the way we always have when we are providing a drastically different service.”
The second staff report summarized details of the recently received CBRE report. The CBRE report provides details about the demand for senior services in southeast Grey County and assesses a value of the Grey Gables property. The information shows a strong and growing demand for seniors’ services, such as assisted living, memory care and seniors apartments. The report concludes there is a good business case for the sale of Grey Gables to a provider of senior’s services. It also identifies that an addition on the building could support a further 60 units.
Grey County will continue to collect feedback from the public about the long term care review and the staff recommendation. Feedback can be provided by emailing LTCreview@grey.ca or by leaving a voicemail message at 519-376-9477.
To learn more about the long term care review, visit www.grey.ca.
For media inquiries, contact Rob Hatten, Communications Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-372-0219 ext.1235.