The locations of six new long-term care homes set to be built in the Halifax area were unveiled by the province on Wednesday. 

In January, the provincial government announced that Gem Healthcare, Shannex Inc, Northwoodcare, and Rosecrest Communities were building facilities at undisclosed locations in Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Sackville.

During a media conference at The Sagewood in Lower Sackville Wednesday morning, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care Barbara Adams announced the locations of the six new facilities. One will be a 144-room building on land immediately adjacent to the Sagewood on Cobequid Road.

A lot of land filled with green grass and rocks with a gray sky in the background.
Land adjacent to The Sagewood in Lower Sackville where a new 144-room long-term care facility will be constructed and operated by Rosecrest Communities. Credit: Yvette d'Entremont

“Things are happening. We are ready to build,” Adams said of the six facilities. 

Scheduled to open in 2025, the new long-term care homes will provide 720 new living spaces for seniors in the Central Zone (HRM). Negotiations for a seventh long-term care home in the Halifax area are still underway. That facility will add another 90 long-term care spaces. 

Each facility will provide single rooms with their own private bathroom.

“For those seniors who will soon call this place home, it means more dignity, privacy, comfort, care, all in a homelike setting,” Adams said. “Things we all expect and should continue to expect as we age.”

Demand will continue to grow

About 1,676 people in the community are currently on the long-term care waitlist. Adams said another 290 are waiting in acute care beds in hospital. 

“We know that too many Nova Scotians are waiting to get into long-term care and that it can be incredibly stressful on the individual and their loved ones,” Adams said. “It also places strain on the health care system as a whole, and the demand for nursing home beds is going to continue to grow.”

Close to 22% of Nova Scotia’s population is 65 years of age or older. This is the third-highest percentage in Canada, and is expected to increase to 25% by 2032.

While Wednesday’s announcement was focused on long-term care infrastructure, Adams addressed workforce challenges. She pointed to initiatives like free continuing care assistant (CCA) tuition, the 23% CCA wage increase, international recruitment, and others as evidence the province is “pulling out all stops to make sure that we have the staff.”

Operating costs for each long-term care room are an estimated $140,000 annually. Adams said build costs are undertaken by the companies constructing the facilities. 

“What we pay for once the facility is open and someone is in a room is we pay for the mortgage for the facility and the operating costs for the health care staff to be there,” Adams explained to reporters. 

“So, the cost itself to the government doesn’t start until someone is placed in that room.”

Importance of homecare

Compared to two years ago, Adams said people are getting into nursing homes more quickly. She added that about 70% of those on the long-term care waitlist are currently receiving home care. 

“What we’ve seen is the number of people who are wanting to be on the long-term care waitlist has not risen with the population because they are able to stay at home, which is what most people want to do,” Adams said. 

“The other thing that we’ve done is we’re bringing in a new capable program which puts an RN, a nurse, and a home renovator into the home to help families keep their loved one home longer.”

Locations for the new Halifax area facilities:

– 96-room facility on Westwood Boulevard, Tantallon, operated by Gem Healthcare

– 144-room facility in Opal Ridge Subdivision, Dartmouth, operated by Shannex

– 144-room facility on Cole Harbour Road, Dartmouth, operated by Gem Healthcare

– 48-room facility on Gary Martin Drive, Bedford, operated by Northwoodcare 

– 144-room facility on Starboard Drive, Bedford, operated by Shannex

– 144-room facility on Cobequid Road, Lower Sackville, operated by Rosecrest Communities 

In a media release, the Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care said site selection is now complete and a replacement facility for Northwood in Fall River is also moving forward.

A replacement facility planned for the Birches in Musquodoboit Harbour is expected to open in 2025. Other replacement facilities in the Central Zone include Melville Lodge in Halifax and Dykeland Lodge in Windsor. 

The department said these are among 34 new and replacement facilities planned across the province. All are expected to open by 2027. Collectively they’ll add about 1,200 new long-term care rooms and replace another 2,300 rooms. 

Yvette d’Entremont is a bilingual (English/French) journalist and editor, covering the COVID-19 pandemic and health issues. Twitter @ydentremont

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  1. Nothing said about co-pay. How much of the $140,000 operating cost per room will be paid by residents?

  2. Looks like the Minister brought along her two plastic men to round out the stage back drop.