The Wawota Save Our Beds Committee is not ready to give up its fight. Members are bringing new information to light at a public meeting organized for March 3, as well as seeking input on the future direction the committee should take.
"The meeting is to bring the public up to date on where we have come from, where we've gone to and where we hope to go," explains committee member Ken Wilson. "We'll update them on old information and some new information."
One of the few reasons given to the community, as to the closure of a wing in Deer View Lodge, was that Sun Country Health Region has a whole had an above average number of long-term care beds in comparison to the provincial average, and by cutting the beds it would bring Sun Country more in line with the rest of the province. While this is in fact true - Sun Country is well above the average - the committee recently compiled statistics pointing to the fact the area served by Deer View Lodge is now below the average.
Saskatchewan has, on average, 108 long-term care beds per 1,000 people over age 75; Sun Country has an above average 127.2 beds.
Deer View Lodge was reduced to 30 beds last June when Sun Country closed a wing contained five beds, which leaves the long-term care facility below the average. Using the provincial average of 108 beds per 1,000 people age 75 and over, Deer View Lodge should have 35 beds.
Committee member Fay Greenbank used figures based on the 2006 Census to determine the catchment area for Deer View Lodge after Sun Country would not make these numbers available.
According to the 2006 Census, there are 330 people 75 and over living in the area served by Deer View Lodge. The catchment area includes Wawota, Maryfield, Fairlight, the RMs of Walpole, Wawken and Maryfield, as well as half the villages of Kennedy and Kenosee, and half the RM of Moose Mountain.
The health region has not verified these numbers, but the committee feels it is fair according to the area that uses the long-term care facility.
"By researching these numbers, we feel that the area that services Deer View Lodge is not over-bedded and we're not sure why beds are being cut here if we're not over-bedded in this particular area," says Greenbank.
The committee has long argued the beds are needed in Deer View Lodge, as the bed reduction affects area communities by putting added pressure on their long-term care centres.
"Cut the beds in Deer View and it affects Redvers' home, it affects Carlyle's home, it affects Kipling's home, and it affects every one of the communities they service, including Manor, Arcola, Kennedy, and so on," says Wilson. "Then, the whole problem mushrooms."
There are 12 people - as of early February - who are on the transfer list for Deer View Lodge. Eight of them list Deer View as their first choice.
"We have proved consistently that we have a long transfer list, so we know that need is here," says Greenbank. "That has not decreased. It is still high."
The meeting on March 3 will bring all of this to the attention of the public - the immediate public and the people it affects around Wawota.
"We need their support, their attendance and their ideas," says Wilson. "This does not just affect elderly people because one day we're all going to be elderly."
The Wawota Save Our Beds Committee is holding its public informational meeting at Wawota Town Hall on March 3 at 7:30 p.m.