Interior Health aims to open complex care facility this fall | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops News

Interior Health aims to open complex care facility this fall

Interior Health is soliciting contractors to open a complex care site in the region, anticipating patients to occupy beds by the fall.

Up to 20 patients with addictions would be admitted to the contracted facility, and the health authority is budgeting $125,000 for each bed per year.

Interior Health began accepting proposals for a complex care facility in January. Although president and CEO Susan Brown told the health authority is actively looking for locations for new sites in Kelowna and Kamloops, proposals for this project are open to anywhere throughout the Interior Health region.

She said services at these facilities should be "tailored" to individual patients, which will be more intensive than supportive housing facilities in various communities throughout the region.

READ MORE: COVID case numbers trending in the right direction in B.C.

The request for proposals includes requirements nurses, social workers and life skills workers, where patients are expected to have access to both counselling and pharmacological-based treatment for substance use disorders. It's intended to be staffed 24/7.

In a recent presentation to Kamloops city council, B.C. Attorney General and Housing Minister David Eby said current supportive housing facilities are often sufficient for around 80% of tenants. But for 15 to 20% of others, they are not enough.

Eby said that minority of people who may set fires, act violently or make "bad decisions" rooted in active addictions can leave the entire supportive housing facility blamed for problems within the building, or the neighbourhood.

So Interior Health's facilities are intended to offer short-term services for people older than 19 who outpatient addiction services are just not enough, according to the request for proposals.

READ MORE: Time has come to move beyond Housing First model for homeless people in Interior Health

Patients at the gender-specific facility are expected to stay for a limited time, ranging roughly 45 to 90 days in a "structured, substance-free environment," before they leave with an outpatient plan.

Along with the up to 20 treatment beds, Interior Health is looking to include another facility with between eight and 12 "stabilization" beds, intended to help transition patients into more intensive treatment models or into housing.

Those detox beds are expected to host a shorter stay of 30 to 45 days, and will include withdrawal management and recovery services.

The provincial government has included $164 million in funding for complex care facilities this year as it moves to increase services for people with addictions, trauma and brain injuries, according to the 2022 budget report.

The funding is planned to pave the way for at least 20 new facilities across the province.

READ MORE: B.C. finally has a plan for the most difficult people to house in Kamloops and Kelowna

As the Province increases funding for new facilities, the fifth year of the toxic drug crisis claimed more lives than ever.

A public health crisis due to rising opioid related deaths was declared in 2016, a year that ended with 993 deaths related to overdoses in B.C. Last year more than doubled that figure with 2,224 deaths and 371 within the Interior Health region alone.

Complex care facilities are part of a revised provincial plan to address both homelessness and the ongoing toxic drug crisis.

Interior Health expects to award contracts by March 31 and begin admitting patients into the new facilities by the fall of this year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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