Island Health is funding 20 new long-term care beds for the Comox Valley.

The beds will be placed in the newly refurbished unit at the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.

The unit is adjacent to The Views at St. Joseph’s, an existing long-term care facility operated by Providence Residential and Community Care Services Society. 

The province says the beds will meet its target of 3.36 direct care hours per resident day.

They’ll be operational at St. Joseph’s until summer 2021, when 120 permanent, publicly funded beds will open in the Comox Valley at Ocean Front Village.

Renovations to the unit are currently underway and it’s expected the beds will be ready to accept residents in the coming weeks.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says in these challenging times, all British Columbians deserve to know that high-quality, compassionate long-term care is available when they or their loved ones need it. 

“We understand how hard it is right now to safely and properly care for elderly loved ones, and that’s why this investment will help ensure seniors are supported and treated with dignity and respect,” Dix said.

“This is a good step to providing better care for seniors in the Comox Valley.”

Courtenay-Comox MLA  Ronna-Rae Leonard is the Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors to the Minister of Health,

She said Comox Valley families want to know their loved ones are receiving the best care possible. 

“That’s why I appreciate the steps Island Health has taken to address these needs and work to add more long-term care beds for their residents,” Leonard said. 

“By joining together, we can help each other in these times, and today shows our commitment and dedication to our community.”

“Providing our aging population with safe and supportive care is a priority for Island Health,” said Island Health board chair, Leah Hollins. 

“These new beds will create more long-term care spaces for seniors living in the Comox Valley, while supporting efforts to maintain reduced capacity in our hospitals during these uncertain times.”

The addition of the 20 beds is part of Island Health’s longer-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Island Health says creating new spaces in long-term care allows Island Health to move alternate level of care patients out of hospital, “continuing to reduce capacity in acute care beds and placing patients in a more appropriate setting to comfortably receive the care they need.”

“We are pleased to collaborate with Island Health in responding to an urgent community need,” said Jane Murphy, president and CEO of Providence Residential & Community Care Services Society. 

“The decision to open this second floor unit was based largely on our value of service — of stepping up even in challenging times. We are committed to the excellent care and safety of our current residents and staff, as well as providing a wonderful environment for the 20 new residents who will come to reside with us. This demonstrates The Views at St. Joseph’s commitment to serving our community and delivering excellent resident care.”