With the special nursing home closed, the mayor of Neguac is concerned about the reduced capacity in the village

Foyer St. Bernard closed last week after the last two residents moved out, Neguac Mayor Georges Savoie said.  (Michèle Brideau/Radio-Canada - photo credit)

Foyer St. Bernard closed last week after the last two residents moved out, Neguac Mayor Georges Savoie said. (Michèle Brideau/Radio-Canada – photo credit)

A specialty care home whose license to operate was revoked by the province has been closed, raising concerns for the mayor of Neguac about the limited capacity for specialty care beds in the community.

Foyer St. Bernard, a 23-bed facility, closed its doors last week after the last two residents moved out, said Georges Savoie, mayor of the northeastern New Brunswick village.

Last month, the Department for Social Development announced it had revoked operating licenses for Foyer St. Bernard and Villa Neguac, another house in the village.

The 29 residents of the two houses were given until February 17 to find a new place to live, but a new owner of the Villa Neguac saves the residents from moving out and also offers space for former residents of the Foyer St. Bernard.

However, with no one coming forward to take over Foyer St. Bernard, the specialty care home is now closed indefinitely while Villa Neguac is expected to reach its 30-bed capacity.

“There are about 23 beds there that we are now missing and we need to speak to the new owner of the villa [Neguac] if there’s a way to fill those beds, either build it or find another way to open 53 to 60 beds in Neguac like it’s done before,” Savoie said.

Jacques Poitras/CBC

Jacques Poitras/CBC

The Department of Social Development announced Jan. 17 that it had revoked the homes’ operating licenses to protect the well-being of residents.

The department has declined to say exactly why the licenses were revoked, but employees and former contractors claim bills for food, waste disposal and electricity went unpaid in the previous months.

Savoie said that while there were only 29 residents between the two houses when the licenses were revoked, the demand for specialty care home beds is higher in the village.

He said that’s because in the months before the licenses were revoked, the province had already begun redirecting new specialty care customers to other homes due to the problems at the two in Neguac.

CBC News asked the Department of Social Development what it was doing to increase bed capacity in nursing homes in Neguac. Department spokesman Robert Duguay said in an email the department’s role is to be a regulator, issuing licenses and conducting inspections.

“Special care homes are privately owned and operated,” Duguay said. “People interested in operating a dedicated care home must go through an application process and meet the criteria and standards required by the regulation.”

Duguay declined to say why the licenses were revoked, citing confidentiality rules.

In a press release Tuesday, the department said the owner of Foyer St. Bernard “is still considering options for the facility’s future.”

Radio Canada

Radio Canada

CBC News emailed Amarjeet Singh Jatana, the owner of the home, but received no response by late Thursday afternoon.

CBC News also tried calling Foyer St. Bernard Thursday, but the line went straight to voicemail.

Savoie said he wasn’t aware there was a potential buyer for the Foyer St. Bernard, which, unlike Villa Neguac, is an older facility, having been built sometime in the late 1960s.

Savoie said Foyer St Bernard has historical significance as it was the first long-term care home in the village, opened by Homer Robichaud, the ward’s first mayor.

Villa Neguac clout

Marc-André Vienneau, a nurse from the region, bought the Villa Neguac and has already taken over the running of it.

He said his home can accommodate residents of Foyer St. Bernard and still has some of its 30 beds available.

Michèle Brideau/Radio Canada

Michèle Brideau/Radio Canada

The home is currently processing applications for new residents, and all beds are expected to be occupied by next month, Vienneau said.

He said he is considering increasing the home’s capacity to accommodate more residents, but that is not his focus at the moment.

“We’ll see what the future holds for us but right now my focus is really on getting things working at Villa Neguac but so far it’s going great,” said Vienneau.


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