Veterans’ Hospital could spell relief for long-term care needs

Program 68 not a huge problem in West Island yet, say MNAs

By Kevin Woodhouse

The province of Quebec instituted Program 68 in 2009, as a way of streamlining the process for transferring patients with long-term needs. Because 15 percent of West Island residents are over the age of 65, the need for long-term beds is not a new issue. And while the province wants to implement more home care services, some have faced the shock of being transferred from a transition or respite bed to a permanent location that is far from their home due to location space.

According to the West Island CSSS, there are 121 permanent beds at the Denis-Benjamin Viger Day Centre residence, four evaluation beds at the centre and six more available in Dollard des Ormeaux. For permanent spots, the agency tries to place seniors close to their homes but waiting lists and availability dictate where the patient will eventually end up.

For Jacques Cartier MNA Geoffrey Kelley, he has heard from some concerned seniors and their children who have to place their parents into a permanent location but find themselves having to take their elderly parents to a bed in the east end of Montreal, far from their family and friends.

“There have been a few concerns since the program was implemented,” Kelley told The Suburban. “It doesn’t happen often but if the Veterans Hospital was available as there are currently about 100 beds not being used. And while our veterans need to be our highest priority, it would take a great deal of pressure of off the Lakeshore General Hospital ER where overcrowding is all too common.”

Like his colleague, Robert Baldwin MNA Pierre Marsan has also heard “from some concerned electors who have had a problem with the program. There is not enough follow up being done to keep beds for acute care.”

“The Veterans Hospital would be a good choice but what are the PQ doing about it? They seemed more concerned about their charter of values rather than help care for the elderly,” Marsan told The Suburban.

The transfer negotiations between the federal and provincial governments are ongoing said Kelley and hopes that the eventual deal does not “put too much of a burden on Ste. Anne de Bellevue taxpayers.”

But something needs to be done for long-term solutions as “there is a long waiting list for Bayview and while Denis-Bejamin Viger is a fine facility, it is showing its years and deserves an upgrade,” said Kelley.

“And while it was nice of the PQ government to give the students a break on tuition, where will there be available money over the next decade for our aging population,” the Jacques-Cartier MNA asked.

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