New, upgraded long-term care beds announced for Essex County
Posted: August 19, 2023
(August 18 2023)
By: CBC News
Hundreds of new and upgraded long-term care beds will open for residents in the coming years, provincial health officials announced Friday at events in Belle River and Leamington.
The announcements cover 125 new beds and 195 “upgraded” beds, according to a provincial statement.
A new home in Belle River will replace the aging Tilbury Manor nursing home. That project will have 75 upgraded beds and 85 new beds, for a total of 160 beds in the home. It’s expected to be open to residents in fall 2025.
In Leamington, Franklin Garden Long Term Care Home will be replaced by a new home with 40 new and 120 upgraded beds in both private and basic rooms. It is expected to be open to residents in summer 2026.
“Congratulations to the whole team involved in the ground-breaking of these two upgraded and modernized homes,” said Paul Calandra, minister of long-term care. “Our government is fixing long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe and comfortable homes for our seniors.”
The province said the homes will include larger resident common areas and air conditioning throughout the home.
The design will be based around what they call “resident home areas” to create more familiar living spaces for up to 32 residents with specific dining and activity areas as well as lounges and bedrooms.
“The new facility in Belle River will be state-of-the-art, offer private rooms, and have 160 beds,” said Anthony Leardi, Progressive Conservative MPP for Essex.
“That’s twice as many beds as the facility it is replacing. That means the people of Tilbury and Belle River will have twice as many beds in a new state-of-the-art facility.”
The province is spending a total of $140 million to build the homes. There will be a staff to patient ratio of eight to one, but the province says staff will spend at least four hours per day with the residents.
Ground-breaking comes after opposition to closure of Tilbury home
There has been opposition to moving patients to Belle River from Tilbury, but a man whose mom lives in Tilbury Manor is glad to see the new home being built.
“The building we are in, the staff go out of their way to look after the residents, but we don’t have the facilities necessary for modern long-term care,” said Joe Langlois, a member of the facility’s family council.
His mom, Tilbury Manor, a resident at Camel Letterblich, is looking forward to the move.
“My own bathtub, my own shower, my own bathroom. I have a private room. I want a private room… it’s going to be excellent,” she said.
Calandra says some municipalities have been putting up opposition to new homes, but he says the province will not let them stand in the way.
“Work with us or we will remove you. We will remove you as an obstacle and we will get shovels in the ground,” he said. “We will meet our goals and we will continue to build on behalf of the people of the province of Ontario.”
But the co-chair of the Windsor-Essex Health Coalition says patients get better care under publicly owned long-term care homes like Huron Lodge in Windsor, and these homes will still be privately owned.
“Not investing in the public aspect of long-term care is still going to back up our hospital system in southwest Ontario,” said Patrick Hannon.
“And I urge the government to please, please, please invest in a public option so that people who are stuck in the hospital system can get the long-term care beds and can free up hospital spaces for other people who desperately need them.”
The province said there will be as many as 361 new and 759 upgraded long-term care beds in the community by 2028, as they support five other projects in Essex, Tecumseh and Windsor.