By Sue Tiffin
A new long-term care home building is expected to be built in Haliburton County, with almost 70 new beds added, by 2025. The project will enable Extendicare to replace its current facility and build a brand new 128-room long-term care home at a yet unchosen site.
Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock made the announcement about funding for new and refurbished beds virtually on Feb. 14 alongside Paul Calandara, minister of long-term care, Liz Danielsen, warden of Haliburton County and Dr. Michael Guerriere, president and CEO of Extendicare Inc.
Guerriere said the beds will more than double the capacity of Extendicare in the area. A new home on a new site is being planned with construction expected to start in fall 2023 and current residents and staff will move to that building once it is built, with plans for additional staff and residents with the increase in capacity.
While a site location has not yet been chosen, Guerriere said there were several options being looked at, and he anticipated the project to be completed in less than three years.
Currently there are 60 beds at Haliburton’s Extendicare, which is located at 167 Park Street in Haliburton.
“We know the pandemic has highlighted the longstanding challenges that faced the long-term care sector for decades, and that’s why we’re continuing to deliver on our promise to fix long-term care across the province, including here in Haliburton County,” said Scott at the announcement.
She said the provincial government’s “plan to fix long-term care” is built on three pillars: improving staffing and care; protecting residents through better accountability, enforcement and transparency; and building modern, safe and comfortable homes for seniors, noting today’s announcement focuses on the third goal.
She thanked the frontline staff at Extendicare Haliburton for “their hard work and dedication to resident care throughout the pandemic,” and “their tireless efforts, every single day.”
“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and a key part of that plan is building modern, safe, and comfortable homes for our seniors,” said Calandra, in a press release issued after the announcement. “When this long-term care home in Haliburton is completed, 128 residents will have a new place to call home, near their family and friends.”
Calandara said during the briefing that “a home isn’t a home until we have the staff inside the homes to make it that,” and reiterated a past announcement of investing in additional direct care per day per residents with an increase of staff.
Danielsen said the county was excited about the announcement, saying the issue of long-term care improvement is critical.
“This is something that the Eastern Ontario warden’s caucus has been putting a great deal of emphasis on over the last several years, and to see the province responding to this need in such a timely way is truly gratifying,” she said. “I understand the issue of available land remains undecided and the county will do all it can to assist Extendicare to find an appropriate location.”
“This home will be built with state-of-the-art design standards to meet the current and future needs of seniors,” said Guerriere. “It will offer more space to connect with loved ones, increased privacy and a comfortable environment more conducive to resident quality of life. Enhanced resident activity areas and flexible space for restorative and palliative services will make a meaningful difference in the care seniors receive in this community.”
Guerriere said with the support of the province, Extendicare has been able “to make significant steps toward our goal of replacing all of our older homes in Ontario.”
He said Extendicare Inc. has committed $400 million of investment to construct six new homes elsewhere in the province, and the re-developed home in Haliburton County will add another $41 million in investment to that total. Extendicare is also providing placements for 1,600 students in 2022, he said, to help with the effort to educate and support new caregivers.
Along with the 68 new and 60 upgraded beds allocated to Extendicare Haliburton, the government also announced an additional 96 new beds at an Extendicare home in Lindsay.