Westbank First Nation (WFN) announced Wednesday evening (Oct. 20) that it is beginning the process of transitioning towards closing its Pine Acres Home long-term care facility.
WFN Chief Christopher Derickson said that due to the current instability of the healthcare industry, combined with the provincial health mandate that required all long-term care and assisted living workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 12, the facility can no longer ensure sufficient staffing levels to provide quality care to residents.
“The staffing concerns by all stakeholders, led us to make the difficult but necessary decision to provide notice to our Membership, Pine Acres Home residents and their caregivers, Pine Acres Home staff, and Interior Health, that we will be beginning the transition towards closing Pine Acres Home’s doors,” said Derickson.
The facility, which opened in 1983, is targeting a January 2022 closure, only after all residents have transitioned to their new homes. WFN said that Interior Health (IH) will work closely with families and residents to help them find alternate care homes. Additionally, IH will be making Pine Acres staff aware of available long-term care job opportunities in the Central Okanagan.
When it first opened, WFN said that Pine Acres was designed to provide quality care for community Elders within an Indigenous environment, but evolved to provide complex support, including dementia care.
Distinguished for its approach and commitment to Indigenous cultural and spiritual beliefs, Pine Acres currently has 63 beds for residential care. There are 40 beds funded through the Interior Health Authority (IHA), with priority placement given to Indigenous residents for the remaining 20 beds.
Through consultations with WFN membership, questions were raised whether the facility was still meeting the care needs of Elder members, with WFN highlighting a notable trend of fewer and fewer member-residents over the recent years.
“This current circumstance has provided WFN with an opportunity to rethink the future of its care delivery model, considering increased assisted living and aging-in-place options,” said WFN.