Eight nursing homes planning to leave Toronto, many others 'at risk' of leaving
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Tuesday, October 24, 2017 12:38PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 24, 2017 6:59PM EDT
A total of eight long-term care homes with more than 1,200 beds between them are planning to move their operations elsewhere rather than build new facilities within the city.
The province has given all long-term care homes which do not meet its current design standards until 2025 to confine with the policy.
That means that 20 of the 36 long-term care facilities in central Toronto will have to be rebuilt if they wish to continue operating.
According to an assessment by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), eight of those facilities with a combined 1,270 beds say that they intend to move elsewhere while another six with a combined 519 beds say they are “at risk” of leaving Toronto.
Only six of the homes have signaled their intent to rebuild within the city, as per the results of the assessment.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Health would have final say over whether existing long-term facilities will be allowed to relocate.
The Toronto Central LHIN is a provincial agency responsible for managing local health services in an area roughly bounded by Islington Avenue to the west, Warden Avenue to the east, Eglinton Avenue to the north and Lake Ontario to the south.
“Because of the price of land – it is extreme in Toronto – they (the facilities) are trying to find property so they can keep those beds in Toronto,” Ontario Long Term Care Association CEO Candace Chartier told CP24 on Tuesday. “They don’t want to leave Toronto but if you can’t find an affordable piece of land and you can’t redevelop on site you got to do what you can.”
The Toronto Central LHIN has said that its staff will meet with representatives from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to advise them of the “risk of potential significant loss of long term care capacity” and discuss potential strategies to “mitigate” that loss, including the development of “appropriate alternatives” to traditional long-term care homes.
Chartier, meanwhile, said that her organization is “already talking with the government about what other lands” may be available in the city for the development of new long-term care facilities.
“Is there vacant school land? Can we do lease to own? What creative solutions can we do to keep those seniors in this community,” she said.
It is unclear how many long-term facilities in other regions of the city are also considering relocation.
Discussing the issues with reporters on Wednesday, Mayor John Tory said that the province ought to increase the subsidy given to long-term care homes operating in the City of Toronto.
“I believe Torontonians should have the same right as everyone else in the province, which is to have their loved ones who might be elderly or otherwise in need of long term care, reasonably close to where they live,” he said. “This is another instance in which a provincial regulation does not take account of the fact that to achieve that objective within the boundaries of the city will be more expensive than it would be in Sudbury or Guelph. I would just hope the province takes a second look at this.”
The Toronto Central LHIN has not revealed which facilities are at risk of closure.