More bad news for seniors as Penticton long-term care facility closes it doors

News release

1400 bed closures made public in recent weeks, thousands more planned — HEU

Today’s announcement that the 100-bed Penticton Retirement Centre will close its doors is more evidence that the Campbell Liberals are abandoning the care needs of B.C. seniors, says the Hospital Employees’ Union (CUPE).

It brings the total number of province-wide long-term and extended care bed closures that have been made public in recent weeks to more than 1400. And the union believes as many as 8,000 beds may be on the chopping block.

In Penticton — and across B.C. — health managers have been forced by Victoria to close beds and to move many frail elderly with significant care needs into so-called “assisted living” spaces where they’ll have to compete for scarce home support services.

Between 60 — 70 per cent of long-term care residents have some form of dementia. “I’m very concerned that our residents will not get the 24-hour care they need and deserve when this facility closes,” says Della McGaw, a care aide at the Centre and the secretary-treasurer of the HEU local. “Many of these seniors will end up in the emergency rooms and in acute care beds.

“I think it’s absolutely appalling that this government is abandoning these seniors and throwing more than 100 caregivers — some with decades of experience — out on the street.”

HEU’s secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says the Campbell Liberals have broken their new era promise to provide 5,000 new long-term and intermediate care beds and are planning to move many into their own homes or apartments with limited support.

“Up to 800 area residents are waiting for a long-term care bed,” says Allnutt, “yet the best this government can do is to close yet another residential care facility.

“Assisted living plays an important role in the continuum of care,” adds Allnutt, “but it’s no substitute for the care that thousands of elderly British Columbians require. This is about saving money on the backs of seniors, and it puts us on the brink of a public health care disaster.”

-30- Contact Mike Old, communications officer at 604-456-7039 or 604-828-6771 (cell)