Sioux Lookout's bid for more long term care beds is meant to ease pressure on the community's hospital. Mayor Doug Lawrance says more beds are needed, in order to help meet demand.
"There's typically 12 to 14 beds, about 25 per cent of our acute care beds, are taken up by alternative level care patients, who are waiting to get into long term care. The need is clear. It's been identified and it's supported," he said, noting the studies and the application currently before the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
There are about 30,000 people in the Meno-Ya-Win Health Centre's catchment area. Studies have shown the hospital would need another 76 long term care beds, in order to help meet the demand.
Lawrance addes he's very concerned about an item on the news, which suggested more beds might be added in Thunder Bay, rather than in communities where they're needed.
"It's a Thunder Bay centric solution to a regional problem. The correct solution is additional long term care beds, regionally in the right locations. Sioux Lookout is the right location, as recommended by the LHIN," he said, referring to the Local Health Intergration Network (LHIN).
If new beds are added at the Lakehead, then seniors from communities -- such as Sioux Lookout and the Far North -- would have to move to Thunder Bay for care. This would separate them from family members in isolated First Nations, who might only see their relatives once a year.
Lawrance adds the addition of more beds also makes financial sense.
"Health care experts will give you the exact numbers, but the cost per night per bed for acute care, versus long term care, is significant. It's an expensive way to address long-term care," he said.
While a hospital bed can cost more than $800 a day, a bed at a long term care facility can cost $126 a day.
For more information:
KDSB looks at long-term care beds