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

Pen High student Myles made this Little Library in his woodworking class and it now stand in front of West Bench Elementary. (Submitted)
Penticton Secondary student makes Little Library for primary school

The Little Library has been installed in front of West Bench Elementary

The Desert Centre in Osoyoos opened on Saturday for the season. (Contributed)
Osoyoos Desert Centre opens for the season

‘Getting out in nature is one of the most important remedies [during] COVID restrictions.’

The Pencticton Vees beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 in the second to last game of the season on Saturday. (Pentiction Vees photo)
Penticton Vees play last game of season today at 4 p.m.

The Vees have dominated the league in wins and play the Cranbrook Bucks at 4 p.m.

Book Shop by Michael Law
There’s magic and colourful history at Penticton’s largest and oldest book store

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

The Oliver Fire Department had to put out a fire on their own training ground, and it wasn’t one they set. (Facebook)
Vehicles torched at Oliver Fire Department training grounds

This suspected arson comes after the cars were vandalized earlier and suspicious fire the night before

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Okanagan township

Spallumcheen wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read