Premier Darrell Dexter said he hopes a new long-term care facility will help ease the lack of long-term care beds available to seniors in Nova Scotia at the official opening of Bissett Court in Cole Harbour yesterday.
The new facility, owned and operated by Shannex, represents 50 of the 1,600 new long-term care beds the government says they will create by 2015-16 through the Continuing Care Strategy started by the previous government.
According to the province’s Department of Health, the average wait for a bed in a long-term care facility is 154 days in Nova Scotia, with that problem only expected to get worse as the population continues to age.
“This represents the transformation of the system into one that really starts to understand the kind of services that are necessary as we move to a point in time when 25 per cent of the population of our province will be over the age of 65,” Dexter told reporters after touring the facility.
The residents gathered in the front room of Bissett Court yesterday to hear Dexter and Shannex president Joe Shannon speak. A couple living at the facility cut a white ribbon for its official opening. The couple later showed off their adjoining bedrooms with a connecting door to the Premier.
Shannon credited Dexter with the province’s focus on long-term care residents and their families.
“It was Darrell Dexter that developed that policy and fought for that policy year after year,” he told the crowd.
Dexter hopes the facility will help more than just the people who live there.
“The reality is that each one of these facilities that opens has a ripple effect right through the community,” he said. “It takes pressure off of other institutions, it allows for transfers closer to home it takes the pressure off of the hospitals.”