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

Whitehorse

Just Posted

Northwestel says it is investigating into the cause of the total communications blackout throughout the territory after a power failure in Whitehorse on Wednesday night.
Internet outage prompts criticism on Dempster fibre project delays

The Liberals responded that they have proceeded cautiously to avoid high costs.

A motorcycle with driver pulled over on the right side of the North Klondike Highway whose speed was locked in at 171 kilometres per hour. (Courtesy/Yukon RCMP)
Patrols of Yukon highways find poorly-secured loads, intoxicated drivers

The ongoing patrols which police call ‘Operation Cooridor’ is mainly focused on commercial vehicles.

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

More than 25,000 people have received the firsdt dose of the vaccine, according to the Yukon government. (Black Press file)
Yukon has now vaccinated 76 per cent of eligible adults

The territory has surpassed its goal of 75 per cent as a first step toward ‘herd immunity’

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Most Read