Lee, WYCCF break ground for new elderly care homes

ST. JOHNS–The White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) and Health Minister Emil Lee broke ground on Thursday, to start the “much-anticipated” construction of its new elderly care homes.

Plans for expansion began in 2014 when a growing waiting list showed the need for increased capacity. Currently 21 seniors reside at the St Martin’s Home, which they share with 44 nursing home clients. These clients will move to the new homes in late 2017.

The homes will consist of three buildings, each with 10 fully-equipped studios catering to at least 30 clients. Each studio will have a living room, bedroom and bathroom, and each building will have a large kitchen, living and covered patio to share and meet with fellow residents. After the completion of the construction, nine extra clients can be admitted, the foundation said on Thursday. “This is urgently needed as the waiting list for elderly care is long.”

On the grounds there will be a vegetable garden managed by the clients of the Sister Basilia Centre who live right next door. The idea is to grow their own produce to use in the kitchens and offer the seniors the option to do some gardening themselves, the foundation said.

When the clients move from the current St. Martin’s Home to their new studios, expansions can take place in current care products of the foundation. The nursing home will expand from 44 to 55 beds, with one bed reserved for respite care. This is temporary care for clients who are cared for at home by their families who need a short break for example for medical or a brief vacation.

WYCCF will also start a two-bed hospice centre, caring for clients who need palliative care in their last stage of life. The physical rehabilitation centre will expand from four to eight beds, an increase that is very much needed with the amount of clients on the island who have had a stroke, amputation or spinal cord injury, the foundation noted. Also, the psycho geriatric day care can move to ground floor of the St. Martin’s Home, creating extra space to place for up to 20 new clients in the Sister Basilia Centre day care.

The expansions were made possible by the close working relationship with Lee and his cabinet staff. When the first presentation was made by WYCCF to Lee, Social and Health Insurances SZV and a team from Public Health, the plans were supported and all effort was made to get the process completed, WYCCF said. Realising that the construction would not only mean more seniors can access care, but so many other types of care could expand, Lee and his team committed to the expansion and ensured that all was in place, according to the regulations that govern healthcare expansions, said WYCCF.

At the ground-breaking event Lee congratulated the board, management and staff of WYCCF, SZV and the Ministry of Health Labour and Social Affairs VSA, noting that without the cooperation from all stakeholders, this ground-breaking would not be possible. “During my time as Minister, I have seen far too many of our senior citizens living in unacceptable situations. One of government’s core responsibilities is to adequately care for those members of our community that are most valuable, especially our sick and elderly. Every person deserves to be able to live their life with dignity and respect.

“The planned expansion project brings much needed extra capacity for the White and Yellow Cross to be able to accommodate more senior citizens in a professionally managed and safe elderly care facility,” Lee said. “This expansion project compliments the ministry’s goal to improve the quality of life for all of our citizens. As a next phase, we would like to see training and certification programmes for home care providers to assist elderly to be able to live as long as possible in their own homes,” Lee added.

Source: Daily Herald
Lee, WYCCF break ground for new elderly care homes