Shelburne long-term care home to be transferred to private company

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The province has decided that the operation of Roseway Manor will be transferred to MacLeod Group, a private, for-profit company. (Submitted by Roy O'Donnell - image credit)
The province has decided that the operation of Roseway Manor will be transferred to MacLeod Group, a private, for-profit company. (Submitted by Roy O'Donnell - image credit)

The province has chosen a private company as future owner and operator of a long-term care home in Shelburne, N.S.

MacLeod Group, which runs a variety of housing and care options for seniors in the Maritimes, will take over Roseway Manor.

The facility is currently co-owned by the Town of Shelburne, the Municipality of the District of Shelburne and the Town of Lockeport, but the three councils decided in April to transfer ownership and asked the province to collect proposals for operating the home.

Nine expressions of interest were received, according to a statement from the Municipality of the District of Shelburne.

"Residents, and their families, can expect the same quality of care, programs and services already being delivered by the caring staff of Roseway Manor," said the statement. "MacLeod Group is committed to continuing this focus, further investing in the education and training of staff, and ensuring safe, healthy living and work environments for all at the Roseway Manor."

Dayle Eshelby, the chair of Roseway's board, said the timeline for the transfer of the facility hasn't been decided yet, but "it will not be in the near future."

Eshelby said staff are going to continue their work at the facility as per their collective agreements and the transfer would not affect contracts with suppliers.

"[Roseway Manor] will remain as a non-profit for the foreseeable future being being managed by the McLeod Group," she said. She could not say if the transaction would be classified as a sale or if money was involved in the transfer.

'No public engagement'

Timothy Gillespie is a member of the group Protect Our Seniors, which submitted a proposal to operate Roseway Manor as a not-for-profit. The group members were concerned about turning the home over to a for-profit company because they felt the level of service could drop and the well-being of residents could suffer.

"I don't have any specific discomfort with the MacLeod Group. I suspect that they operate as well as any other for-profit organization," he said Friday. "I'm far more disappointed in the process by which this has taken place rather than the ultimate decision, because we're not privy to what factors were being considered or not considered."

Gillespie said Protect Our Seniors tried to get information from the councils about why they decided to relinquish ownership of the home, which has 66 beds.

"There was no public meetings about it. There were no notices that it was even being discussed," he said. "There was no public engagement whatsoever."

The group is not alone in its concerns about transferring a long-term care home from a municipal corporation to a private owner. Alexandra Rose is the co-ordinator of the Nova Scotia Health Coalition, a group that aims to protect public health care.

"For-profit organizations, they hire more part-time, casual and contracted staff. So there's less stability, less benefits, no protection or minimal protection from workers' unions," Rose said. "For-profit organizations, their primary focus is profit, is serving their shareholders, whereas not-for-profit facilities, they serve the public."

Facility slated for improvement

Roseway Manor is on the province's list of long-term care homes slated to be renovated or replaced. A spokesperson for the Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care said the process of deciding whether Roseway will be renovated or replaced is still in the preliminary stages.

The MacLeod Group will report to the facility's current board of directors until the ownership is transferred to the company. A timeline for that has not yet been decided.

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