St. Joseph’s has transformed the third floor of its former acute care hospital into a temporary but attractive long-term care facility, until Island Health can build a promised 150 new beds in the Comox Valley. The announcement of contracts on the new beds has been delayed
An almost brand new long-term care facility will open in the Comox Valley this week. Island Health is moving 21 patients who are currently in acute care beds at the Comox Valley Hospital to Mountain View, the renamed and completely renovated third floor of the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital.
The move, which begins on Wednesday, Sept. 5, is necessary because patients needing an alternate level of care have contributed to chronic over-capacity at the one-year-old Comox Valley Hospital (CVH).
A facility planned and budgeted for 129 admitted patients has been overcapacity since it opened last October, reaching as high as 178 patients, roughly 40 of those are patients who no longer need acute care but have nowhere to go given the Comox Valley’s critical shortage of long-term care beds.
Island Health has promised up to 150 new long-term care beds for the Valley, but has yet to award contracts for them.
The Request For Proposal said contracts would be awarded on Aug. 31, but an Island Health spokesperson has told Decafnation that the health authority hasn’t finished evaluating all the proposals. It’s now expected the contracts will be awarded later this fall.
In the meantime, Michael Aikins, Administrative Officer of The Views at St. Joseph’s, said reopening and renovating space in the former hospital for the 21 patients and three respite beds has created a flurry of activity.
St. Joseph’s has had just a few weeks to transform the medical/surgical third floor into a secure and comfortable long-term care facility.
“We’re doing everything we can to create a home-like environment for our new residents,” he said. “This will be their new home, and we want to make it a good one.”
St. Joseph’s has purchased new furniture and 32-inch televisions for each room, taken out walls, repainted everything, brought in a piano and a pool table and built custom cabinetry.
The former Intensive Care Unit was gutted and turned into a bright dining area. Other room have been opened up and combined into an activity area, a bistro and a lounge that features a wall of windows facing south overlooking Baynes Sound and the Beaufort Mountains.
The contract to reopen St. Joseph’s for long-term care is only for three years, until facilities to house the promised 150 new beds can be constructed. But Aikins said St. Joseph’s is doing “everything we can” to make it a first-class facility.
“We recognize that this will be their new home,” he said. “For some, it will be their last home, so we’re trying to make it special.”
The three-year contract will create approximately 35 new jobs in nursing, housekeeping and other services.
The St. Joseph’s kitchen, located in the basement of the 100-year-old hospital building currently serves more than 100 residents of The Views and the four hospice beds. It will also provide meals for the new Mountain View residents.