As the pandemic moved into 2021, health care partners across the region and province began to experience increasing staffing shortages, an issue that has exacerbated across long term care and hospital environments in recent months.
As a result of staffing shortages at Rainycrest Long Term Care Home, Riverside Health Care ceased admissions in late July 2021 to ensure we maintained safe, appropriate care for the Home’s residents.
In addition to ongoing recruitment and retention efforts, Riverside Health Care is using rental and owned living space for a number of agency staff who are supporting existing staff in providing quality care to our residents.
The Ministry of Long Term Care recently implemented an increase in the direct hours of care funded, to three hours per resident per day. This is a welcome and overdue change in the long term care sector, and will incrementally increase until we reach four direct hours of care per resident per day in 2024-25. We applaud the government for making this commitment to increase the level of care provided to long term care residents.
Today, the Home has 122 beds opened and, due to ongoing staffing challenges, we are required to put the remaining 42 beds into abeyance in accordance with Ministry policy. Beds in abeyance are beds in a temporary state of closure. Implementing the increase in direct hours of care requires additional staff, further impacting the number of beds we have placed in abeyance.
We are optimistic that a portion of the closed beds will be reopened in early to mid 2022, recognizing this is dependent on our recruitment and retention efforts at the Home.
We understand the frustration and confusion this creates for those seeking long term care placement in the community of Fort Frances, and we assure you that our team is taking all necessary steps to ensure the Home may reopen as soon as practical.
Our utmost priority remains the continued delivery of quality care for each resident we serve. We will reopen closed beds at Rainycrest as soon as practical to do so.
We wish to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the dedicated staff at Rainycrest and for their continued commitment to the making it a wonderful home for the residents.