The recent provincial announcement outlining 40 new long-term care beds in Collingwood is the first step in an estimated three-year process that will see Bay Haven Senior Care Community and Collingwood Nursing Home merge to build a bigger, state-of-the-art facility.
Currently, the two facilities each have 60 licensed long-term care beds. Bay Haven also has 40 retirement beds, and Collingwood Nursing Home has four convalescent care beds.
“We’re amalgamating the two 60-bed licenses to make 120 beds, plus the ministry is adding the 40 beds for a grand total of 160 beds,” said Scott Strandholt, an administrator with Bay Haven Senior Care Community.
Strandholt and Peter Zober, president of Collingwood Nursing Home, recently sat down for an interview with CollingwoodToday to outline their plans to improve long-term care in the area.
Strandholt said the new facility will essentially double the space of the existing homes.
“There will be more common spaces for residents, larger bedrooms and private bathrooms,” he added.
The new facility will be located on land adjacent to the existing Collingwood Nursing Home on Campbell Street, which Zober says has already been zoned for nursing and long-term care.
“We are merging into this new building,” says Strandholt. “It’s a long-term project. It typically takes two years to build the facility, and maybe 18 months to have all the financial, architectural and site plan approval from the city completed.”
While it may be years before the ribbon would be cut on the new home, both Strandholt and Zober are delighted by the recent announcement and see it as a positive first step toward achieving better long-term care facilities in Collingwood.
“This is a great story for the community,” said Strandholt. “With Collingwood’s (senior) population growing, we think that the new beds are going to satiate the demand.”
Zober says the new facility will improve the quality of life for residents through private room options, improve medical care, reduce the wait-list and help alleviate the strain on current health-care providers.
“We put a lot of work into this because it’s not often health services are given the opportunity for redevelopment,” said Zober. “It’s not a matter of just getting to build it how you want to, you have to follow the regulations that are in place.”
Zober and Strandholt jointly prepared the request for proposal to the provincial government.
“We presented the merging, which is pretty innovative to long-term care homes in the Collingwood area, to address future demand,” said Strandholt.
“We’re excited on multiple levels,” said Zober. “We’ve both been in this community for 30 years, and we care about the staff and the residents in the community. From our perspective as employers, it also provides more stability.”
“We’re working together as a team to meet the health needs and challenges of the community,” said Strandholt. “There will be lots of work... in order to get to that end game.”
David Jensen, media relations coordinator with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, said the Collingwood announcement is part of the provincial government’s plan to build long-term care capacity by adding 15,000 beds in the next five years and 30,000 beds in the next decade province-wide. To date, almost 50 per cent of the first 15,000 beds have been allocated.
“The government supports the development and redevelopment of long-term care beds through a Construction Funding Subsidy (CFS),” said Jensen. “The CFS is per bed, per day (per diem) funding provided to eligible long-term care operators once they complete a development or redevelopment project.”
Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson did not return a request for comment from CollingwoodToday on the announcement, but posted a media release on his website last week.
“This is terrific progress for a new government in nine months and I look forward to continued action on the issue, particularly for the residents of Simcoe-Grey,” Wilson wrote in his release. “Long-term care is one of the biggest issues my offices and I deal with almost on a daily basis.”
“In fact, I have received over 1,100 emails on the issue in the last few months alone,” he wrote.
In the release, Wilson outlined some of the issues concerning long-term care he has heard from residents, which include difficulty navigating the system, residents finding themselves on wait-lists for years, residents being forced to seek care outside their local area, overworked staff and a lack of Personal Support Worker hours to meet the demand and a lack of mental health supports and personalized care for residents.
“There is more to be done, but this funding should be acknowledged and will go a long way in improving care for seniors in my riding and across the province. I am pleased to recognize the health minister and government for their swift action on the file," said Wilson.