Island Health has issued a request for proposal for 10-12 new residential care beds to be located in Port Alberni.
The RFP seeks submissions from proponents to own and operate the beds in the Port Alberni-West Coast region.
Residential care beds provide 24/7 community-based care and support for people with complex care needs who are no longer able to live at home independently or with supports.
“On a regular, routine, ongoing basis Island Health evaluates the need for residential care beds in communities across the Island,” said Tim Orr, director of residential services at Island Health. “We look at a number of indicators to sort of weigh and compare the need between communities and then when resources become available we try and increase capacity in communities that we see as having the most need.”
Orr said an RFP in the Cowichan Valley and Comox Valley has been issued as well.
“There is a group of people who are unable to be cared for in the existing sites in the Alberni Valley so we’re hoping to create a capable unit where people could stay closer to home and receive care when they have that higher need,” Orr said.
The beds would be funded by Island Health through a service agreement with the successful proponent.
“[The proponent] would have to buy the land or add on to an existing facility… and we would enter into an operating agreement with them and we would fund the beds,” Orr said.
Orr hopes that with an addition of new beds, patient wait times at West Coast General Hospital would alleviate.
“[The beds] would be accessible both from the hospital and from the community,” Orr said. “If people are living in the community and have need for long-term care they would be assessed and those with greatest need would get the priority to the beds.”
The residential care beds are expected to open in early 2019.
“There’s clearly a need in the Alberni Valley, especially for beds in a secure unit, and we’re just really happy that we can address that need,” Orr said.
The RFP can be viewed on BC Bid at www.bcbid.ca until Nov. 30, 2016.