WINCHESTER — The board of Dundas Manor is expressing disappointment with the Ford government’s decision to exclude the Winchester institution from new long-term care beds recently allocated across the province.
The community operators of the 1978-era Manor want to replace their current allotment of 98 ‘old’ beds — built to the tight four-beds-per-room standard of 40 years ago — with new ones in a planned multi-million-dollar redevelopment with much more square footage and no more than two residents per room. But they need the province to OK the funding and sign off on the plan, which includes upping the total bed count to 128.
Instead, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care last week announced additional long-term care beds throughout the province but left out the local redevelopment — even though the Ministry has mandated that Dundas Manor be rebuilt or lose its operating license.
“We submitted our redevelopment application on April 28, 2015 and we are still waiting,” notes Board Chair Bill Smirle. “We are very disappointed as we have been repeatedly told by government officials that they have all of the information they need from us. They have also confirmed there is a clear, demonstrated need for the Dundas Manor to be rebuilt.”
The past four-plus years have seen the board work closely with residents, families, staff members and the local community to plan for a new and larger Dundas Manor, which would be built on Winchester District Memorial Hospital property, not very far from the current Clarence Street address. Board members also say they’ve met with representatives from the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Ministry of Health, Office of the Minister of Health, the Office of the Premier, local MPP Jim McDonell and many locally elected officials.
“North Dundas has one of the lowest ratios of long-term care beds per Eastern Ontario resident and the need is clear,” adds Peter Sorby, Board Vice Chair. “Our major concerns are for our residents at the Dundas Manor who are deserving of a new home and for our local rural area that deserves more long-term beds in this region.”
The new Dundas Manor will “transform the look and feel of the residence to create a truly home-like environment where we can also welcome thirty additional residents,” according to the operators. “Preliminary designs are complete, and the new home will improve quality of life with more accessible space, more efficient preparation areas, wider halls and larger windows. Outdated four-bed units will change to two residents per room. As well, the new home will address the need for greater individualized and resident-directed care.”
Space is “severely restricted” at today’s Manor, with limited dining and activity space and no accessible washrooms for people with disabilities, according to the board. The current structure is also saddled with inefficient heating and ventilation systems, and “significant money” continues to be spend maintaining an “aging building in decline” while a new build is delayed.
“To date, we have found the process difficult and slow. We look forward to assistance in achieving the required approval so that we can provide better care for our residents — now and into the future,” sums up Smirle. “They deserve nothing less!”
Nation Valley News has reached out to MPP McDonell for comment on Dundas Manor’s failure to make the province’s funded list. In response, the MPP said he believes the project will be approved in the next one or two months.