New continuing care centre officially opens

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October 13, 2015 8:15 AM

Cottage living has a special meaning for senior residents of the new 60-bed Lloydminster Continuing Care Centre that held its grand opening on Oct. 8.

The $34.2 million facility owned by Alberta Health Services and operated by Saskatchewan’s Prairie North Health Region (PNRH) houses 10 seniors in each of six cottages to provide a home away from home experience..

Providing better care close to family and friends was behind the design of the new centre located at 7409 29 Street on the Alberta side of the city.

Its homey atmosphere was noted by many of the guest speakers, including Bonnie O’Grady, PNHR board chair.

“It is set up into cottages and each cottage has dedicated staff for those 10 individuals,” explained O’Grady.

“The staff in that cottage will become very acquainted with each one of those individuals and their care needs.

“Their meals are cooked there; people know each other well and are comfortable with their surroundings.

“It really helps to change the atmosphere  of care home sites.”

The new continuing care centre replaces the 55-bed Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre and adds five additional continuing care beds to the community.

It creates a combined 110 long-term care beds in Lloydminster.

“This is a state-of-the-art long-term care facility in Lloydminster, ” said David Fan, CEO of PNHR.

“It is a beautiful living environment for our residents and by all accounts they love it. The families of those residents also loved it.

“This is the way long-term care facilities should be developed, specially arranged in the context of housing - some units of 10 to 12 beds rather run a huge facility with long corridors and rooms on both sides.”

Residents began moving over to the facility in June along with over 120 employees.

Carol Freeman is the facility manager and Sharon Jackson is the assistant manager.

Planning for the new care facility began in 2008.

“It has been a long time in the making. This brand new facility has taken quite a few years to build,” added Fan.

“Today is the official grand opening and it’s a wonderful day.”

Many care residents took in the grand opening led off by remarks from Sherrie Allen,  senior operating officer from Alberta Health Services Central Zone North.

“We have a real need in this community for continuing care. It’s really important for us to support the needs of residents in their community,” said Allen, who noted there is likely a waiting list.

Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders presented a plaque to the continuing care facility on behalf of the city.

Jessica Littlewood, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville delivered a statement for Sarah Hoffman, Alberta minister of health.

“It’s definitely part of the government’s plan to ensure that people that are in care are accessing the needs they need in their communities,” said Littlewood.

“They don’t have to move out of their community into a long-term care somewhere else.”

According to Fan, the existing 55 beds in the two newer wings of the Dr. Cooke centre will remain in use with the fate of the other two older wings yet to be decided by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.

“The initial intent and the plan  was, and still is I think, to demolish those two older wings, but my understanding is there has been a fair bit of community lobbying and input to preserve those two wings and repurpose it for other long-term care related programming like transition care or palliative care.

“There are many good ideas that have been put forward. At this point, those two wings are still sitting and waiting final determination as to what to do with them.”

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