Westbank First Nation long-term care home closing, victim of vaccine mandate | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Westbank First Nation long-term care home closing, victim of vaccine mandate

The requirement for all workers in B.C. long-term care homes to be fully vaccinated has triggered the closure of Pine Acres Home, run by Westbank First Nation.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Westbank First Nation

The requirement for all workers in B.C. long-term care homes to be fully vaccinated has triggered the closure of Pine Acres Home, run by Westbank First Nation.

“Pre-COVID, our plan was to expand the facility," Chief Christopher Derickson said in a news release. “But, in these unstable times in the health-care industry, compounded with the new public health order for mandatory COVID vaccinations for health-care workers, we have found ourselves unable to continue to ensure sufficient staffing levels.”

READ MORE: All staff in B.C. long term care homes must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 12

The home is the “only community with a long-term care facility on-reserve,” the First Nation said.

It opened in 1983 as an intermediate care facility but evolved into a complex care facility that included dementia care.

It has 63 beds but the First Nation doesn’t say how many are currently occupied.

The idea is to work with Interior Health to relocate residents to other facilities and close Pine Acres by January.

There had been earlier discussion with Westbank First Nation members about whether Pine Acres was still meeting the care needs of its elders, given the fact that fewer band members were actually living there, the First Nation said.

“This current circumstance has provided WFN with an opportunity to rethink the future of its care delivery model, considering increased assisted living and aging-in-place options,” the news release reads.

All workers in B.C. long-term care facilities had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 12 or be placed on unpaid leave.

No one from Westbank First Nation or Interior Health was immediately available for comment.


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