Tilbury Manor worth saving

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Editor: The private, for-profit business that owns the Tilbury Manor LTC has received a new 30-year license and permission to move the 75-bed home from Tilbury to Belle River, where another 80 new beds will be added.

Permission was granted by the Ontario government. Ford’s government has been quietly granting new 30-year licenses and new bed allotments to many LTC homes province-wide, mostly private, for-profit homes, and even those whose COVID-19 records were abysmal.

The president of Arch Capital Corporation stated on July 15, “Ontario needs more high-quality long-term care space for seniors, and as investors we are helping to fill that need.”

Michael Missaghie then followed with, “We’re proud of the excellent, resident-centred care we provide through our long-term care homes.” Something does not sit right with that statement. Current residents of Tilbury Manor will be able to choose where they are transferred: either to the new home in Belle River or elsewhere; those that wish to remain close to their home community will have difficulty doing so as there are presently no open, available LTC beds in Chatham-Kent.

Arch Capital Corporation is a capital investment business whose goal is to make money. They have acquired multiple LTC homes in recent years for that purpose. Obviously there is more money to be made in a larger LTC home in Belle River. But that does not make this move more palpable to residents in Tilbury Manor, or Tilbury and its rural catchment area, or to people in Chatham-Kent.

Seventy-five LTC beds will be lost in Chatham-Kent, at a time when Baby Boomers are reaching an age when they might require LTC.

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, who has developed a rural health program and a gerontological program, will be faced with many elderly patients with nowhere to go after hospital discharge.

The staff at Tilbury Manor has apparently been offered positions in the new home, but nothing has yet to be signed.

Chatham-Kent will lose a LTC home, leaving only six in the municipality. Most importantly, the residents and families of Tilbury Manor are losers in this money-making scheme. Elderly people often suffer confusion, anxiety, depression, loneliness and worse when they are moved from one place to another. Family members may be unable to drive to Belle River to visit; there is no taxi service or public transit in this area.

The MPP for Chatham-Kent Leamington, Rick Nicholls, has not presented any viable ideas to help his constituents.

C-K council has failed to come up with any solutions.

The people of Tilbury, its rural catchment area and indeed all of Chatham-Kent rely on local government and their MPPs to fix or resolve problems and to improve their lives.

The CK Ontario Health Team, created by the Ford government, is not thinking proactively about Tilbury and its rural catchment area. Where is the concern for all residents of Chatham-Kent?

I urge all residents of Chatham-Kent to contact Nicholls’ office by phone, e-mail or in person to support Tilbury Manor.

Flood your councillors phone calls and e-mails to encourage them to dig deeper to save this LTC home.

The local advocacy group, Tilbury Area Action Team is spearheading this fight. If we all work together, Tilbury Manor will be rescued.

Shirley Roebuck

Chairperson

Chatham-Kent Health Coalition

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