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Funding concerns about equipping new long-term care facility

Posted on December 22, 2015 by Maple Creek

By Matthew Liebenberg —mliebenberg@prairiepost.com
Concerns were raised at the Cypress Regional Health Authority meeting Dec. 9 about the funds that will be available to equip the new long-term care facility in
Swift Current.
The fundraising campaign to raise more than $8 million from the community to fully furnish and equip the 22 homes in the new facility is spearheaded by the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation.
Cypress Health CEO Beth Vachon informed board members about a recent meeting with the Foundation to discuss the fundraising process.
“We are a long way off in our fundraising efforts,” she said.
There are already funding commitments of around $2 million to the campaign, but the health region will have to review its priorities for furnishings and equipment in the facility.
“We really need the support of the community on this project,” she said.
She felt the community will respond to the equipment needs for the new facility.
“The community is always very generous when they know what the needs are,” she said. “So it really is just continuing to bring awareness to the project and the fact that we have some equipment needs that need to be resourced in the next few months.”
Lyle Quintin, the chairperson of the Cypress Regional Health Authority board, said the new facility might have to open without couches for the living rooms in
the different homes and other furnishing items for areas such as hallways.
“It will be a shame to have that beautiful building look so good from the outside and be so barebones on the inside,” he observed. “It’s disrespectful to the people that are going to live there.”
According to Larry Allsen, the health region’s chief financial officer and vice-president corporate services, the value of the original furnishing and equipment
list was $8.9 million.
“Without the funding available for that, we need to take a look at that list and see,” he said after the meeting. “That list is all brand new furnishings. So you take the beds out, you bring across what you have, there’s $1 million.”
Another example of a potential cost saving will be the $300,000 to purchase televisions to install in all the resident rooms.
The new model of care for the facility will require the purchase of certain items that are essential and that they do not have at the moment, for example 27 additional beds, kitchen equipment as well as tables and chairs for 22 dining rooms.
Another dilemma facing the health region is that it needs to order equipment in time to avoid any delays to the opening of the new facility in mid 2016.
Some items have to be purchased for installation during the current construction period, for example tubs, paper towel dispensers and soap dispensers. Other
items are specialized and are only made to order, for example bed pan flushers are manufactured in Sweden.
The health region has already ordered items that need to be installed during the construction period and is now giving attentions to items such as stoves, fridges, dishwashers and freezers.
“Those are all being tendered that we order, but we’re coming close to a time where we need to order the next thing and we don’t have the funds to do it,” he said.
Recruitment strategy for continuing care assistants  The Cypress Health Region has done a review of the curriculum for the training of continuing care assistants (CCA) in Saskatchewan and Alberta to understand the differences and to make it easier to recruit out of province candidates.
“The Alberta program is shorter than the Saskatchewan one,” Vachon said. “So we really had to figure out what is the difference and what isn’t being taught in
Alberta that’s being taught in Saskatchewan.”
The health region used that comparison to determine the additional in-house training that will be provided to recruits from Alberta, which will place them at
the same equivalency as a CCA trained in Saskatchewan.
“That gives us the confidence to be able to accept Alberta grads now from their program,” she said.
Prior to this curriculum review the health region did not recognize a CCA qualification obtained in Alberta.
“So what happens is that in order for them to work for us, they go back to an untrained care aid with the same expectation that they would retake a  Saskatchewan course, which is just frustrating for people who have already committed and gone through the program,” she said. “So it was just a really good use of time to compare the curriculums side by side and really know what is the difference between the two programs.”
It is important for the health region to be able to recruit CCAs from a wider area than just Saskatchewan.
“CCAs are one of our largest groups of employees and it’s also the group of employees where we have the largest projection of retirements in the next three years,” she said.
Extension of tender for Leader capital project The Cypress Health Region has extended the tender period for the Leader capital project for another 30 days to review the cost of the project.
“We continue to work with our architect and the lowest bidder on that job to try and bring the price down to our price point,” Vachon said. “It came in higher than what we are funding for. So we’re continuing to do that and requested an additional 30 days to continue on with the dialogue and really looking at what our options are at this point.”
The original tender period of 45 days expired Dec. 4, but the health region wants to use the extra time to review the project details again.
The provincial government announced the Leader capital project in September 2014. It will involve the renovation and expansion of the existing long-term care facility to include acute care, community health services, primary health care, and ambulance services.
The cost of the project was set at $12 million. The provincial government will provide $9.6 million while the community is responsible for
contributing the remaining 20 per cent.
“We have four buildings out there right now and really the goal is to try to get to one building so that there’s less maintenance, there’s less infrastructure that we need to maintain,” she said. “It allows us to utilize our staff in a different way when they’re allunder one roof.”

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