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Long-term care beds planned for Watson Lake hospital

Will require 4.5 full-time nursing staff
Welcome to Watson Lake sign. The Yukon government says it plans to add two long-term care beds to the hospital in the community, once if hires staff and goes through a community input process about the living spaces. (Matt and Bess/Wikimedia Commons)

Before the Yukon government adds the two long-term care beds planned for the Watson Lake Community Hospital, it will need to hire staff and get community input.

The territory announced the plans for the new beds in a Nov. 24 statement.

Cameron Heke, a spokesperson with the Department of Health and Social Services, said in an emailed statement the beds are expected to open “as early as possible in 2023, contingent on recruitment and community input.”

Through a joint engagement plan between the territory and hospital corporation, input will be gathered from the community to decide how the living spaces will be developed, including furnishings and decor, to make sure the living spaces are welcoming and culturally appropriate.

A total of 4.5 full-time equivalent licensed practical nurses will be hired to provide 24-hour care, the government said.

“These additional continuing care beds will enable the right care at the right place and at the right time,” Allan Lucier, who chairs the Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC) board, said. “The hospital is pleased to support expanded continuing care services in Watson Lake in a way that reflects community input and meets long-term health needs.”

It was noted that occupancy levels at the hospital were analyzed to make sure there was enough capacity for the new beds with protocols put in place should there be a surge for acute care beds.

Asked for details on the protocols put in place, Heke replied by stating: “YHC has defined policies and protocols to address overcapacity if there is a surge in demand for acute care beds.”

The territory and hospital corporation worked together to make the beds available through the continuing care program offered at the hospital.

“Our government continues to transform the Yukon’s health-care system and respond to the needs of our growing territory,” Health and Social Services Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee said.

“We are very pleased to improve services by adding these important resources that will support Yukoners to age closer to loved ones and in the comfort of their own community. Thank you to the Yukon Hospital Corporation for their collaboration on this people-centred initiative.”

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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