Province’s First Public-Private Project Yields Long-Term Care Home

It’s said that good things happen in threes, and that’s just what appears to have happened in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. The construction and opening of a new state-of-the-art long-term care home has created jobs, relieved the health-care system, and marked the completion of the provincial government’s first public-private partnership project.

“This new long-term care home will now ease pressure on the health-care system in western Newfoundland, and provide new public-sector jobs,” Dwight Ball, the outgoing premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, said in a statement.

About 200 permanent public-service jobs have been created as a result of the new 145-bed facility, which will see more than 60 full-time equivalent staff transfer over from Western Memorial Regional Hospital.

The project is also expected to generate 380 person-years of employment and $43 million in GDP, said Plenary Group, an independent investor, developer and manager of public infrastructure that worked on the facility. Ball said the province has worked on the $120-million project with community partners and it has been delivered on time and on budget.

“We are happy to see this project reach this significant milestone,” Steve Crocker, Minister of Transportation and Works, said in a statement. “During construction, the percentage of workers from Newfoundland and Labrador was consistently around 90 per cent.”

The responsibility of overseeing the construction, design, financing and maintenance of the facility lies with Corner Brook Care Partnership. Led by Plenary Group, it includes Montgomery Sisam Architects, Marco Services as the builder, and G.J. Cahill as the service provider, from Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We are honoured to have been selected as the preferred proponent to deliver a long-awaited and much-needed long-term-care facility in the community of Corner Brook,” Brian Budden, president and CEO of Plenary Group, said in a statement.

“We look forward to … what we know will be a productive, long-term relationship with Newfoundland and Labrador.”

The Western Regional Health Authority began to operate the facility and the 30-year service contract with Corner Brook Care Partnership on Feb. 14, 2020. Just three days later, beds, furniture and equipment installation and testing began, followed by orientation and training for new staff on the new equipment, workflows and resident care. Employees will provide nursing care, and dietary and housekeeping services.

Residents began moving into the building this spring, and a name for the facility is expected to be announced soon.

The home has 120 long-term care beds, 15 palliative-care beds and 10 rehabilitative-care beds shared across four floors and eight 15-bed units.

Plenary Group said the facility will become a key pillar for the Corner Brook community and described its design as consisting of complementary parts. There’s an articulated Main Street/Medical Wellness pavilion “of residential scale and character,” and an efficient and stacked neighbourhood structure arranged to frame a resident-focused courtyard on the northwest side of the building.

The facility also includes a hair salon, wellness suites, a volunteer room, a prosthetic clinic, rooms for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and a multi-purpose Town Hall room. The palliative care unit includes a kitchen, lounge and dining room for families’ use. Murals featuring photographs of nature scenes brighten up hallways while windows look out onto the natural landscape.

Ball had previously pointed out that more than 19 per cent of the province’s population is over the age of 65 and that percentage will rise to 27 per cent within 10 years.

John Haggie, Minister of Health and Community Services, said that by increasing capacity in long-term care, “we will meet the needs of our aging population, while ensuring the appropriate use of existing acute care beds.”

“Our investment in new health-care infrastructure will serve the people of this region well for many years to come,” Haggie added. “This new, modern long-term care home will provide top-of-the-line care for residents and their families in a comfortable therapeutic environment with all of the comforts of home, closer to home.”

The facility, which sits just off the Lewin Parkway, is one of five active public-private partnerships in the province.

Ball said he looks forward to seeing his government’s other projects, like the west coast hospital, adult mental-health and addictions hospital, and other long-term care homes, also delivered on time and on budget.

More specifically, those other projects include two 60-bed long-term care homes in Gander and Grand-Falls Windsor, a new adult mental-health and addictions hospital in St. John’s, a new correctional facility to replace Her Majesty’s Penitentiary, also in St. John’s, and a new 164-bed hospital in Corner Brook that will be connected to the long-term care home.

The Corner Brook hospital is under construction and it’s expected to be completed in 2023. The two long-term care homes are now being built, and are scheduled to open next year. Construction on the mental-health and addictions hospital is to start this year, and procurement on the new correctional facility was to start this spring with a Request for Qualifications.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure all of our infrastructure projects are providing employment for Newfoundland and Labrador workers and companies,” said Crocker.

*SOURCE Government of Newfoundland and Labrador