Ontario government invests in long-term care beds in Picton

A possible solution to hallway health care was rolled out in Prince Edward County on Friday afternoon.

Dozens of residents of H.J. McFarland Memorial Home filled a common area as Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s minister of long-term care, announced that 76 new beds would be installed as part of the provincial government’s focus on reducing wait times and improving patient experiences within provincial hospitals.

“This is part of our $72 million more going into long-term care this year,” said Fullerton.

Fullerton, who started her new role as minister of long-term care on June 20, explained to the room that 34,000 Ontarians are waiting to get into a long-term care home, which has handcuffed the health care system.

“Our promise was 15,000 beds in the next five years and that’s a promise we are working very hard on since I became the minister of long-term care,” said Fullerton.

Also in attendance on Friday was Todd Smith, MPP for the Bay of Quinte, and in a lengthy address, he expressed his excitement for the expansion in senior care.

“We have an aging population here in the county, and since I’ve been here as the MPP for eight years, we’ve actually lost long-term care beds. So, it was vital that we started to see some investment from the Ontario government,” said Smith.

Global News spoke with several residents of H.J. McFarland Home, and when asked about the prospect of having a few dozen new neighbours, each was excited that the 44-year-old home would see a renovation to accommodate the additional residents.

“I’m excited to meet some new people and have an updated building,” said Joyce Aulthouse, a resident of H.J. McFarland Home.

Robert McAuley, the acting CAO for Prince Edward County, spoke with Global News after the announcement and said the additional beds will essentially double the size of the home, which may require a new building on the 40-acre property.

The beds are expected to be moved into the home over the next three years.

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