The Northwest Territories does not need as many long-term care beds as initially estimated.
Julie Green, minister of Health and Social Services, said in the legislative assembly Thursday that the territory will need 169 new beds by 2034. The government originally thought 435 beds would be needed.
In 2015, the GNWT provided an estimate of needed long-term care beds, based on five years of related statistics.
Green said last summer the data was revisited by the NWT Bureau of Statistics with five more years of statistics to adjust projected needs over the next 14 years.
“The bureau used 10 years of NWT long-term care data for its modelling and provided the department with projections for three scenarios based on age and care needs,” Green said.
“The projections for all three indicate the same thing: the number of beds needed has decreased.”
The adjustment in the projection was largely based on current long-term care bed use in the territory and population projections.
This resulted in a shift from a projected 115 beds per 1,000 residents aged 70 and older to 72 beds per 1,000 elderly residents.
Green also explained that long-term care beds have also been added in Behchokǫ̀ and Norman wells since the first projection.
The minister said that even though the projections have changed, senior’s care in the territory largely will not. Home and community care will remain unaffected. Long-term care, she explained, is “meant for seniors who require high levels of care and who can no longer be supported in their homes.”
HSS’s new projections, however, will require changes to capital spending in several NWT communities.