Nelson’s Mountain Lake Seniors Community is one of two seniors care facilities in the city. Interior Health announced Monday that 495 new long-term seniors care beds will be added to Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton. Photo: Tyler Harper/Nelson Star

Nelson’s Mountain Lake Seniors Community is one of two seniors care facilities in the city. Interior Health announced Monday that 495 new long-term seniors care beds will be added to Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton. Photo: Tyler Harper/Nelson Star

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Vernon and Nelson will receive 495 new long-term care beds for seniors.

The Ministry of Health announced Monday it was increasing the number of beds to make up for an expected 28 per cent increase in the population of people aged 75 years and older over the next five years within the Interior Health region.

Kelowna will receive 140 beds, Kamloops will see 100 added, while Penticton and Vernon will have 90 added in each community. Nelson meanwhile will have 75 new beds.

The announcement will increase long-term care beds in Interior Health by nearly 10 per cent to 6,550.

“Across those communities, you’re going to see significant improvements in care,” said health minister Adrian Dix.

“We need to address long-term care and we’re doing it by improving staffing, improving standards, improving working conditions and across British Columbia increasing the number of beds.”

Five requests for proposals were issued last week. The ministry said it plans to consider proposals in the fall and award contracts in early 2021 when it also expects construction to begin.

Interior Health president Susan Brown said the communities chosen for the new beds were picked for their projected populations and demographics, admission wait times, and the complexities of care needed.

She added changes made to seniors care during the COVID-19 pandemic will also play a role in how the new facilities are built.

“We know that it has been especially challenging for those living in long-term care and their families,” said Brown. “We are committed to taking what we have learned over the past couple of months and applying it to these projects.”

No specific locations were mentioned in the announcement except for Nelson, where Brown said Interior Health wants to use land at an abandoned hospital.

Dix added he expects each project will be located on one site per community.

“What this reflects is existing numbers of beds in those communities and the demand of the population over 75.”

The ministry said in a statement that the average age of residents in care facilities is 84.

In 15 years, 25 per cent of B.C.’s population is projected to be 65 years and older, up from 19 per cent last year.

READ MORE: Interior Health identifies more locations with COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna

READ MORE: Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

@tyler_harper | tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snowboarders at Revelstoke Mountain Resort heading for the gondola. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Another 16 COVID-19 cases for Revelstoke

The cases were identified between Jan. 3 and 9

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

A performance by Alex Cuba will be streaming live on Arts Revelstoke platforms on Feb. 12, 2021. (Photo by Jeff Fasano, submitted by Arts Revelstoke)
Arts Revelstoke hosting virtual performances and movies this season

REVY. Live and Movies in the Mountains is returning

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Shrubbery peeking through snow in downtown Revelstoke on Jan. 14. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
95% less snow in Revelstoke this winter compared to last year

However, there’s plenty of snow in the alpine

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

Most Read