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Estevan committee submits their vision for a new nursing home

The new nursing home committee provided their recommendations to the government.
Estevan Nursing Home pic
Progress continues on a new regional nursing home for Estevan.

ESTEVAN — The new Estevan regional nursing home project is seeing more progress, as the local committee has recently put forward recommendations to the provincial government on how they see the building.

The committee met with representatives of the Saskatchewan Health Authority and the Ministry of Health earlier this year, when the business case for the new nursing home was presented, and the location, building size and cost were discussed. The business plan calls for 167 long-term care beds, and to meet that goal two potential options were suggested.

"We were presented with two options – a greenspace owned by the city, just opposite the hospital across Sister Roddy Road; or [option] two – build on the property of St. Joe's hospital. The 167 beds indicated in the needs assessment could be made up of the 38 long-term care beds that are presently within St Joe's special care component of the hospital and add 129 new beds," said Don Kindopp, the chairman of the new nursing home committee.

The committee was asked to provide their recommendations to the government.

"We discussed the various options that were in front of us. And we recommended to the government that we proceed with building 129 new beds on the greenspace that is opposite the hospital across Sister Ruddy Road," Kindopp said.

"The basic reason for that was the space for the building itself. Otherwise building on St. Joe's property would force us to go higher in stories.

"There are a lot of pros and cons in doing that, but we felt cost-wise and space-wise, that this would be the best, and that St. Joe's hospital would make every effort to accommodate the care needed within the new construction in terms of visiting a doctor or requiring X-rays or things of that nature."

He also outlined that within the new building, they are also considering creating an adult day program, palliative and respite care, and they are looking into the potential for a daycare unit for staff and – if there are still any openings afterwards – the community.

The recommendation has been sent to Tim McLeod, Saskatchewan's Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors, and Rural and Remote Health, to then go to the cabinet for approval. Kindopp noted that if there are any further questions, the government will reach out to the committee, but otherwise, he expects the next phase, which is the design of the new building, to start soon.

"Once it's approved by cabinet, they will move into design. And as part of that process, we are hopeful that we will be involved in some of those discussions around design. There is a possibility that by spring of next year, it could be started to have some groundwork done, that's looking into my crystal ball. And if that crystal ball vision of spring of 2025 is cloudy, then probably the fall of 2025 would be a possibility," Kindopp said.

However, the work for the community, which in 2015 reached $8 million raised as the city's 20 per cent share of the original projected cost of $40 million, may soon open up again.

"Because the needs assessment indicated 59 more beds than what we had anticipated, the cost will have gone up ... And then the inflation has struck," said Kindopp.

"The community has a responsibility for a portion of the costs of the new building. And because the number of beds has increased, and certainly inflation's set up, there will be additional support or funding needed from the community."

He noted that there is a discussion on how much of a cost should the community be responsible for now that the cost has gone up significantly, but decisions on that and further fundraising efforts haven't been made.