Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Two care homes in the works

Facilities would add 200 beds to system

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Winnifred Bergner, 99, and her children, Warren Bergner and Glenda MacDonald, chat with Premier Greg Selinger.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Winnifred Bergner, 99, and her children, Warren Bergner and Glenda MacDonald, chat with Premier Greg Selinger. Photo Store

THE Selinger government has given the go-ahead for the construction of two new personal care homes which, it says, should meet Winnipeg's long-term care needs through 2020.

Each facility will have 100 beds. One will be located in south Winnipeg and the other in the city's northeast quadrant. Precise locations have yet to be chosen.

Premier Greg Selinger announced Wednesday the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has issued a request for proposals to interested sponsors. The province would cover the lion's share of construction costs.

"These two additional facilities will make a big difference in Winnipeg and build on some construction projects that are well underway," Selinger said.

Provincial officials did not offer a cost estimate for the projects, which must still be tendered. But nursing homes tend to cost $350,000 to $400,000 a bed to build, government officials said.

Last fall, the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy published a study suggesting Manitoba would need an additional 5,100 to 6,300 personal care home or supportive housing beds by 2036. Demand for nursing home spaces is expected to jump around 2021 when baby boomers begin to reach age 75.

In Winnipeg, more than 300 people are on a waiting list to get into a personal care home -- although health officials say many of them wouldn't be in a position to take a bed if they were offered one today. Most are living at home with home-care supports.

Another 60 to 70 people are in hospital waiting to get into a care home.

The government hopes construction on the two new city care homes will begin by 2015.

It takes 15 to 24 months to build a new care home.

To speed up the process, the government is considering copying the design of a recently built care home, such as the River Park Gardens facility on St. Anne's Road, the site of Wednesday's news conference.

In addition to the two city facilities, personal care homes are also in development or under construction in Niverville, Lac du Bonnet and Morden-Winkler. Holy Family Home on Aberdeen Avenue in Winnipeg is also being redeveloped and expanded to add 44 new beds.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2013 B2

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