Ajax receiving 192 long term care beds in new Schlegel Villages facility

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Published December 7, 2021 at 4:44 pm

Ajax will receive nearly 200 long-term care beds in the next few years when a new care home by Schlegel Villages opens its doors.

Ajax MP and Minister of Long-Term Care Rod Phillips, Mayor Shaun Collier and several members of Ajax council were at the prospective site to announce the new home on December 6. Construction is set to begin in the Spring of 2023.

The investment in Ajax is part of the Ford government’s $6.4 billion investment, since 2019, in Long Term Care across the province to build 30,000 new beds and upgrade by 2028. An Ontario news release calls the new facility in Ajax “a campus of care,” integrating the home into the larger health care network.

“When Schlegel Villages Ajax is completed it will be a place for 192 seniors in the community to call home, near their family and friends,” said Phillips.

The 192 beds that will make up Schlegel Villages are part of an investment of 636 total beds in Ajax. More than 300 are going into Lakeridge Health Ajax-Pickering and 124 new beds are going into Chartwell Ballycliffe Long Term Care.

The province’s planned $6.4 billion investment come in two parts. The next installment of $3.7 billion will happen in the 2024-2025 fisca year, at the far end of a potential second term for the Ford Government.

The province says there are 20,385 new and 15,918 upgraded beds “in the development pipeline,” in various stages of development. They will be announced as a approvals roll out across the province.

These ambitious developments are something of a reaction to what Phillips called the Ontario Government’s “failure” in long-term care in the first year of the pandemic.

From 2019 to June 2021, the LTC portfolio was handled by Merlee Fullerton, an Ottawa doctor, who was widely condemned for slow action. Internal documents obtained by the CBC indicate a sluggish response in LTC, amid public declarations of an “iron ring” around the Province’s seniors.

By the time Fullerton was shuffled off the LTC portfolio, more than 4,000 LTC patients were dead.

A Canadian Armed Forces report released after the military was brought in to assist five LTC exposed “vile” conditions for patients. Orchard Villa in Pickering, for example, was found infested with cockroaches with the smell of rotting food filling the air.

Patients were left in bed in soiled diapers, with medicine distributed unsafely, and weren’t sat up properly during feeding which the report notes likely contributed to the choking death of a patient, among numerous other issues.

The Ontario government has come under fire for a proposed license renewal and expansion of Orchard Villa. More than a third of Orchard Villa’s 250 patients died.

Oshawa MPP Jennifer French said in parliament the families of patients have reported that “things are just as bad as they ever were.”

When Phillips took over the LTC Ministry in June, after six month of exile from cabinet following his resignation for breaking Covid travel restrictions, he apologized for his government’s failure. “Successive governments, including this one, failed residents and failed families.”

“And they failed our staff and on behalf on past governments and the current government,” he continued. “I apologize for that. I think that’s a necessary step so that we can take the action we need to do now to move forward.”

In moving forward he later announced the Modernizing Long-Term Care Plan, to expand Ontario’s LTC. However, the plan has come under fire for its embrace of privately run for-profit homes over public homes.

 

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