Seniors demand gov't recycle rooms

By Geoff Lee

January 21, 2016 10:43 AM

Senior Ruby Trudel reads a letter and a proposal to re-purpose closed wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care facility at a news briefing at the Legacy Centre Tuesday. The documents were sent to Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.

Local seniors have banded together to demand the Alberta government recycle 40 rooms in two closed wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care facility to provide a variety of continuing care beds.
The Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Senior’s Care Society held a news briefing at Legacy Centre Tuesday to reveal the proposal, which was also sent to Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman.
Possible uses of the space that’s been empty since last May include beds for continuing care, convalescence, respite care and palliative care to reduce a waiting list of about 66 beds.
“Out in the community are many more people that would like to be in a higher level of care, but there is no place,” said spokesperson Ruby Trudel.
“We have the needs,” she said.
“We don’t have any other place to use in the community.”
The seniors’ group sent a letter with the proposal to Hoffman seeking a quick response to what they see as a good use of an existing facility.
“The space is there and the infrastructure is there,” said Trudel.
“The point of our proposal is to ask Minister Hoffman to please look at that building and decide whether or not it is functional for re-purposing.”
The proposal notes the potential cost of repurposing must be weighed against an estimated $2 million cost to demolish the two wings.
Re-purposing the Dr. Cooke centre would be cheaper than spending at least $7.9 million a year for 12 to 15 care beds at the Lloydminster Hospital, noted the group.
What cost can be put to the 66 people on waiting lists who need placement in long term care facilities, people needing palliative care or families needing respite, asked the report authors.
A few of those needed spaces will be filled with the ongoing expansion of Pioneer Lodge.
A report by Alberta Health Services in February 2013 and referenced in the proposal, identified an unmet demand for about 100 beds over typical 15-year planning periods for new facilities.
In addition, the Lloydminster Integrated Health Services and Facility Infrastructure Needs Assessment in December 2103 identified continuing care priorities including a transition unit, palliative care and respite service.
The group’s letter to Hoffman noted that given the “extreme financial challenges” faced by Alberta re-purposing the two wings at Dr. Cooke is viable option to consider.
A question about what would happen if the government tore down the old wings to build something new was tackled by Ken Pryor the vice chair of the seniors’ group.
“If there was a plan put in place that they could move bulldozers in there and start to tear down and build another 100 bed facility there, I would go fishing and golfing because that would look after it,” he said.
“Let’s do something.”
He noted the condition of the two wings shouldn’t be worse than Lloydminster Comprehensive High School that was build at the same time to repurpose it for needed beds.

More News

LCSD hosts archbishop

The Lloydminster Catholic School Division (LCSD) had a special guest this week, as Archbishop Richard Smith toured multiple schools. more »

Falk talks first session in House of Commons

Battlefords-Lloydminster member of Parliament Rosemarie Falk is back in her constituency for the summer. She held a summer office open house this week for people to have a tour, drop by for a conversation,… more »

Health council opens channels

We have your back on healthcare. That’s what the Yellowhead East Health Advisory Council (HAC) told local and area residents during its latest meeting at the Lloydminster Hospital on June 20. more »

more »