Arnprior’s only nursing home is pleading with the provincial government to approve a plan that would drastically increase the number of long-term care beds in that city.

The Grove Regional Health Centre, a not-for-profit facility run by the Arnprior Regional Health Centre, is seeking to increase its bed count from 60 to 96 as part of a massive redevelopment. Plans are ready to build a new, larger facility with greater services and to turn the current space into affordable homes for seniors.

But before shovels hit the ground, the centre needs to get new licenses from the provincial government. The President and CEO of Arnprior Regional Health Eric Hanna said getting that approval is proving to be a difficult task.

“Right now the government is suggesting that there are no additional licenses right now,” Hanna said. 

There are more than 78,000 long-term care beds across Ontario and Hanna said licenses are required for every bed. 

Since 2003, The Ministry of Health said more than 10,000 new beds have been developed, and more than 13,5000 older beds have been redeveloped. It is unclear how many beds have closed in that same time frame. 

Gert Murphy lives in Arnprior but was unable to get her husband of 58-years into the Grove. Bill Murphy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago, and has been living at a nursing home in Stittsville for the last year. Gert said she tried to get Bill into The Grove but couldn’t because the facility wasn’t secure enough for him and had no room. 

“He was wandering and they didn’t have secure facilities and they wouldn’t take anyone who had a chance of getting out,” Murphy said.

Rebuilding and redeveloping the facility, Hanna said, would give The Grove more beds along with greater resources to help take care of people with dementia. 

For people like Gert Murphy, it would also make life easier and more convenient. 

“I could go there every day and feed him his lunch or meals and it would be a lot easier,” she said. 

The Chair of the Greater Arnprior Seniors Council Darrel O'Shaughnessy said this plan would help reduce long wait lists while also providing equitable care to the community. 

“A lot of the residents, they want to be here. A lot of them want to continue living here and they want to die here,” said Darrel O’Shaunghnessy, the chair of the Greater Arnprior Regional Seniors Council. 

Hanna says more than 300 facilities like the Grove have been on the province’s redevelopment plan for more than 18 months, but only 10 or so have been approved. 

“More licenses will help a lot of homes like ours build with appropriate capacity,” he said. 

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care said more than 30,000 LTC beds in more than 300 LTC homes will be updated to current design standards by 2025.