Car­bon­ear long-term care fa­cil­ity ready to open

200 res­i­dents mov­ing into brand new build­ing at­tached to hospi­tal

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON TC MEDIA HER­ITAGE ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

It took a while to get there, but Eastern Health staff and management are now in the midst of pre­par­ing for the ar­rival of 200 res­i­dents at a new long-term care fa­cil­ity in Car­bon­ear.

“We an­tic­i­pate a very smooth move,” said Judy O’Keefe, re­gional di­rec­tor for long-term care with Eastern Health. “We have an ex­cel­lent staff and team that have been work­ing a long time here. They’ve been pre­par­ing for this for the last two years. They’ve got things down to a sci­ence. All the fam­i­lies are pre­pared. The res­i­dents know they’re mov­ing. We know ex­actly where they’re go­ing, and we know what’s com­ing with them.”

Equipped with 228 beds spread over four storeys, the fa­cil­ity will ac­com­mo­date all cur­rent res­i­dents of the In­ter­faith Cit­i­zens’ Home and Har­bour Lodge Nurs­ing Home in Car­bon­ear and the Pen­te­costal Se­nior Cit­i­zens’ Home in Clarke’s Beach.

Pub­lic tours at the new fa­cil­ity will take place Sept. 8-9. Resi- dents com­ing from Car­bon­ear will move in Sept. 15, with folks from Clarke’s Beach com­ing the fol­low­ing day.

“The two here in Car­bon­ear have been around for decades, so from a de­sign and en­vi­ron­men­tal (per­spec­tive), there are a lot of is­sues with that space. The space is re­ally small. We don’t have the equip­ment that we need. It’s not re­ally built for the kind of care and the kind of res­i­dents we have mov­ing into our long-term care fa­cil­i­ties to­day.

“So with this space now, we have a lot of safety fea­tures. We have ceil­ing lifts in all of our rooms. We have all kinds of fur­nish­ings laid out for our res­i­dents who need ex­tra as­sis­tance, and also, the space in the room al­lows for safe care to be pro­vided by our staff.”

O’Keefe said there are res­i­dents of fa­cil­i­ties else­where in the prov­ince re­quest­ing a trans­fer to Car­bon­ear. While there isn’t a wait­list at the mo­ment for such ac­com­mo­da­tions in the Car­bon­ear area, she ex­pects that will change with time. There will be a va­cant unit to start.

The new fa­cil­ity can ac­com­mo­date res­i­dents with a va­ri­ety of needs, in­clud­ing those deal­ing with the af­fects of dementia. There are two se­cure units par­tic­u­larly de­signed with those res­i­dents in mind. They fea­ture wan­der­ing loops, and res­i­dents are also wel­come to make use of an out­door gar­den area.

Lounges set up for each unit will al­low fam­ily and friends to have pri­vate par­ties with res­i­dents. There are also shared din­ing and ac­tiv­ity spa­ces de­signed to pro­vide a more home-like at­mos­phere.

“Whether it’s a game of cards or to be in­volved in bak­ing classes or just to visit with their loved ones, we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to that and we think our fam­i­lies and our res­i­dents are go­ing to en­joy that as well,” said O’Keefe.

The fi­nal price for the build­ing, ac­cord­ing to O’Keefe, came in at around $100 mil­lion. Site prepa­ra­tion be­gan in 2011, and the orig­i­nal plan was to have res­i­dents in by late 2014 or early 2015, but that did not hap­pen.

In March of 2015, The Tele­gram re­ported there were is­sues with cracked con­crete floor­ing. Peo­ple who worked on the project told The Tele­gram anony­mously the sit­u­a­tion was un­like any­thing they’d ever seen. Some dry­wall was also ru­ined af­ter it was put up be­fore the build­ing en­ve­lope was sealed. At that point, it was es­ti­mated the build­ing would be oc­cu­pied by late 2015 or the spring of this year.

“It’s been a long time com­ing,” said O’Keefe. “We’ve been plan­ning it for a long time, and so we’re kind of ex­cited to open it up next week.”

PHO­TOS BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON/TC MEDIA

The new Car­bon­ear long-term care fa­cil­ity open­ing in Septem­ber cost ap­prox­i­mately $100 mil­lion.

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