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February 20, 2009
For immediate release

Province Releases New Healthy Aging Strategy

Health

Premier Robert Ghiz and Minister of Health, Doug Currie were at Summerset Manor in Summerside today to release “Prince Edward Island’s Healthy Aging Strategy,” which outlines the future of long term and continuing care on Prince Edward Island.

“For too long, governments have neglected the needs of Island seniors,” said Premier Robert Ghiz. “Today, we are presenting our plan to ensure that the citizens who built and defined our society are afforded the dignity and grace that they deserve as they age and their health care needs evolve. We will respect their rights to make choices about their care and strive to ensure the supports and appropriate levels of care are available when and where they are required.”

PEI’s Healthy Aging Strategy will help to correct the imbalance between community based care and facility based care on PEI. The strategy will support Island seniors who wish to remain independent in their homes and communities as long as possible.

“Last fall we committed to Islanders that we would improve the way health care was delivered on Prince Edward Island. It was evident that significant improvement was needed, in long-term care supports and services for our Island seniors,” said Minister Currie. “Providing our seniors with the care they need, whether it be improved home care, facility based care, transitional care, palliative care or other forms of required care, is a priority for this government.”

The Healthy Aging Strategy includes five pillars that the province has identified as areas that need to be addressed in order to improve the continuing care system and advance the province’s overall vision of One Island Health System.

Those pillars include:

• Pillar 1: Manor Replacement – The province has committed $51 million to replace a number of the publicly owned manors. Five facilities have been identified as priorities and construction will begin over the next five years. Those five facilities include: Summerset Manor in Summerside, Prince Edward Home in Charlottetown, Colville Manor in Souris, Maplewood Manor in Alberton and Riverview Manor in Montague.

• Pillar 2: Palliative Home Care Drug Pilot Project – Since the implementation of the program in the fall of 2008, it has successfully enabled 20 Islanders to receive care at home during their final days.

• Pillar 3: Enhanced Home Care – The province recently injected $1.5 million into the Home Care budget for 2009-2010.

• Pillar 4: Expanded & Improved Long-Term Care – The province is committed to enhancing services to those that require long-term care. Government has requested approval to create permanent licenses for 44 temporary beds located throughout the province and added 15 long-term care beds to Community Hospital, O’Leary.

• Pillar 5: Transitional Care – Government opened a ten-bed transition unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for medically discharged patients awaiting alternate levels of care.

A Healthy Aging Strategy is an important part of an integrated health care system. Government will improve facilities, incorporate leading practices from across the country, and reduce our reliance on institutional and bed-based care and focus more on care provided in the community.

PEI’s Healthy Aging Strategy is based on the observations and experiences of senior health care leaders and the direction is supported by the findings and recommendations of several reports and studies, including the Ascent Strategy Report and the Corpus Sanchez Report.

Reports available online:

• "Prince Edward Island's Healthy Aging Strategy Report," available online at: www.gov.pe.ca/publications/getpublication.php3?number=1474

• Corpus Sanchez Report: “An Integrated Health System Review in PEI A Call To Action: A Plan For Change,” October 2008, available online at: www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/doh_csi_report.pdf

• The Ascent Strategy Report: “Projections and Recommended Approaches to Delivery of Long-term Care in the Province of Prince Edward Island 2007 – 2017,” March 2008, available online at: www.gov.pe.ca/go/AscentReport

BACKGROUNDER

Healthy Aging Strategy

The Healthy Aging Strategy includes five pillars that the province has identified as areas that need to be addressed in order to improve the continuing care system and advance the province’s overall vision of One Island Health System.

Those pillars include:

· Pillar 1: Manor Replacement – The province has committed 51 million dollars to replace a number of the publicly owned manors. Five facilities have been identified as priorities and construction will begin over the next five years.

The first two facilities to be replaced are the Summerset Manor in Summerside and the Prince Edward Home in Charlottetown. Construction on both facilities will begin in 2010 and occupancy expected in the fall of 2011. The new Summerset Manor will be located on land north of the Prince County Hospital off Roy Boats Avenue. Site selection is underway to replace Colville Manor in Souris, with a new manor expected to open in summer 2012. The process to replace Maplewood Manor in Alberton will commence in 2012-2013, and planning for the new Riverview Manor in Montague will commence in 2013-2014.

Government has also announced the decision to forgo the use of a P3 model for the construction of these new facilities

· Pillar 2: Palliative Home Care Drug Pilot Project – Since the implementation of the program in the fall of 2008, 20 patients have registered and the total number of days patients have been able to remain at home is 621. To date, this program has successfully enabled Islanders to receive care at home during their final days while improving system flow at a decreased net cost to the health care system.

· Pillar 3: Enhanced Home Care – PEI is currently among the lowest in Canada in per capital investment in home care. Therefore, the province recently injected 1.5 million dollars into the Home Care budget for 2009-2010. Work is currently underway to set investment targets, define processes to distribute funding and update and redefine services to reflect current population needs.

· Pillar 4: Expanded & Improved Long-Term Care – The province is committed to enhancing services to those that require long-term care. Previous governments have responded to demands in acute care and long-term care by issuing temporary licenses for long-term care beds in the private sector. The province recognizes that these beds are needed and, therefore, has requested the approved to create permanent licenses for 44 temporary beds located throughout the province. This is the equivalent of adding a nursing home to the system. The province also strives to strengthen long-term care in areas that are currently under-serviced, which has resulted in the addition of 15 long-term care beds to Community Hospital, O’Leary.

· Pillar 5: Transitional Care – In the past, a long-term care resource for medically discharged patients was not always available in a timely fashion. To help ease pressure, Government opened a ten-bed transition unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for medically discharged patients awaiting alternate levels of care. The transition unit at the QEH is a temporary measure, and a longer-term option is being investigated.

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Media Contact: Laura Jones
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