Canterbury health chiefs say prompt action is needed to provide 1300 more rest home beds in the next nine years.
The district health board released an Aged Residential Care Recovery plan for the earthquake-devastated district on Monday.
The plan says 636 beds in eight facilities were destroyed or severely damaged in the quakes in September last year and February.
It says that has put pressure on residential care in Canterbury and throughout the South Island, with any spare beds taken up by displaced Christchurch rest home residents.
The plan says 286 beds are under construction, but current projections of rest home use indicate almost 400 more beds will be needed in the next two to three years.
A total of 1330 more will be required by 2020.