SALMON ARM – Interior Health’s Board of Directors has approved a significant investment in seniors’ care through a competitive bid process announced today for the development of 60 beds in Salmon Arm.

“If given the opportunity, seniors have told us that they want to remain independent and in their own home for as long as possible,” said Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo. “This investment will help ensure that seniors have the opportunity to remain close to their home, family and friends and still receive the best care.”

Following a thorough review of communities, the following areas will see 243 new beds through the bid process:

  • Cranbrook                                           30 beds
  • Kamloops                                             48 beds
  • Penticton                                             35 beds
  • Salmon Arm                                         60 beds
  • Williams Lake                                       70 beds

The exact locations of the new beds will be determined by the competitive bid process.

As well, while not included in this bid process, Interior Health plans to open an additional 14 beds in 100 Mile House within previously shelled in space at Fischer Place/Mill Site Lodge in spring 2017, bringing the number of beds in that community to 93.

“This announcement is the result of considerable planning and review,” said Erwin Malzer, Interior Health board chair. “While our goal is to help individuals live independently as long as possible, residential care continues to play a vital role in supporting the needs of an aging population. This investment is targeting those communities where we anticipate the largest population growth among seniors and increased demand for health services.”

The review that Interior Health conducted looked at current demographics, wait times, referral patterns, complexity of residents, and population projections.

“This announcement and the pending procurement process will mean expanded housing options for seniors in several communities where our research shows additional capacity is required,” said Executive Director, Residential Services Cindy Kozak-Campbell. “Today’s care homes provide private rooms; wide, bright hallways; more intimate dining and recreation areas; and focus on environments that will best support those with complex needs, such as residents with dementia.”

This announcement follows recent contract awards for 100 new residential care beds to be completed in Kelowna early next year and 85 new residential care beds in Vernon, which are expected to open mid-2017.

Interior Health currently has 5,653 residential care beds, providing 24/7 care and support for individuals with complex care needs who are no longer able to live at home independently or with supports. This includes frail and elderly individuals with chronic conditions, such as those with dementia, whose needs may change over time.

To ensure the competitive bid process is as efficient and timely as possible, procurement activities will include a Request for Qualifications followed by area-based Requests for Proposals, and are expected to start in August. It is anticipated contracts will be awarded by December 2016 and new beds will be completed in fall 2018.

As part of its commitment to enhance cultural safety and provide culturally appropriate care in all service areas, Interior Health will require Proponents to develop a plan that includes engagement of local communities including First Nations stakeholders during development of the new beds. In addition, Interior Health’s Aboriginal Health team will be involved in the procurement process.

Interior Health’s plan for residential care services supports the Ministry of Health’s strategic direction, which focuses on a more integrated system of primary and community care that better meets the needs of patients, including frail seniors.