Continuing care plans don’t pass muster

 Here's an idea, Yukon cabinet: when you have an overwhelming number of Yukon seniors and elders being housed in Whitehorse General Hospital, don't panic and build a massive continuing care facility in an almost com

Here’s an idea, Yukon cabinet: when you have an overwhelming number of Yukon seniors and elders being housed in Whitehorse General Hospital, don’t panic and build a massive continuing care facility in an almost comically ill-suited location.

Instead, ask: why are so many people being channelled into long-term care beds in the first place? Data shows that Yukon has, on average, more seniors in long-term care beds than elsewhere in Canada, and that these seniors are also younger, more independent, and more mobile.

Despite these irritating facts, our endearingly befuddled cabinet has decided that a 300-bed, three-storey continuing care facility, that is projected to cost over $300 million when all is said and done, is what Yukon seniors and elders need most.

Even better, they’ve chosen to brighten up the lackluster development of the Whistle Bend subdivision by fast-tracking the first phase of this construction project, the oft-mentioned first 150 beds. (interesting aside: Whitehorse General Hospital has 55 beds).

Last Thursday, Premier Pasloski spoke with reporters to shine some light on cabinet’s decision-making process around this facility. He said Whistle Bend was selected due to its size, and the “pressing need” to get the project moving full-steam ahead.

Based on documents leaked earlier in the week, it is clear this site was selected against the expert advice of Yukon Health and Social Services staff and private consultants. In fact, the decision to locate the facility in Whistle Bend seems to have been plucked from thin air.

I would argue that the same could be said about the decision to build a 300-bed facility. I have not come across a single government document showing that they ever considered anything other than 300 beds. Not 50, not 100. Not even 200. Only 300.

Sure, Pasloski said that “the determination to build the facility was based on a needs assessment.” But I’ve read this report and the other business cases. And what he calls a “needs assessment” is nothing more than population projections. Zero consideration was given to the state of home care, the availability of assisted living facilities, or the role of discharge planning in helping seniors return home.

In a delightful twist, Pasloski went on to say that “public consultation doesn’t determine whether we need a facility.” Well, whoever thought it would?

A (real) needs assessment would determine whether or not we need a new continuing care facility. Then public consultation would help determine what kind of a facility to build.

Here’s hoping cabinet figures out these basic tenets of responsible governance before it’s too late.

Norma Gretel


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read