Wednesday, 07 August 2013 14:27

Cypress Health has started procurement process for new Swift Current long-term care facility

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A concept site plan for the Swift Current Integrated Facility indicates the location of a long-term care facility in relation to the Cypress Regional Hospital and other facilities. A concept site plan for the Swift Current Integrated Facility indicates the location of a long-term care facility in relation to the Cypress Regional Hospital and other facilities. File photo

The recent progress with planning for a new long-term care facility in Swift Current was welcomed with enthusiastic applause by board members at a regular Cypress Regional Health Authority board meeting July 31.


Board members responded with applause and cheers when Cypress Health Region Board Chair Tyler Bragg referred to the project during his chairperson’s report.
“It’s been a long time and we sure appreciate that the announcement was made,” he said. “We’re looking forward to spring of 2016, when we will be moving into that facility.”
The provincial government announced on July 3 it will proceed with a design-build-finance-maintain public-private partnership (P3) procurement model for the 225-bed long-term care facility that will replace the aging Palliser Regional Care Centre, Swift Current Care Centre and Prairie Pioneer Lodge.
The new facility will be build on 15 acres of a 30-acre parcel of land that is owned by the Cypress Health Region. The site is located next to the regional hospital.
Bragg has recently toured the site of the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek, which is currently under construction. He said construction is coming along “very nicely” and the building’s grand opening will be next summer.
“I’ve always for the longest time been talking about the things we’re waiting for,” he told the meeting. “It’s nice to see that a couple of thing are actually going to happen, but I would be amiss if I don’t say we’re still hopeful that we get some funding announcement for a facility in Leader at some point in the future.”
According to Cypress Health CEO Beth Vachon the procurement process is already under way, of which the first step is the selection and appointment of a number of facility advisors who will support the health region during the entire P3 process.
The next step will be the release of an RFQ (request for qualifications) to obtain submissions from private sector companies that are interested in bidding on the project. A shortlist of potential bidders will be selected and Cypress Health will have discussions with them during the winter months before the successful project applicant is selected.
“It sounds like a long process but there is actually a lot of work that gets accomplished through that time period,” she said.
In the meantime the health region has started an internal process that involves long-term care staff to collect data for the development of an appropriate model of care in the new facility. Information is collected on various processes such as the time it takes to provide baths to people or to prepare meals, the process for distributing supplies through a building or what happens in the activity department.
“We look at all the many, many different processes that happen every single day in long-term care ... and that helps us then to start to determine where are there places where we can make improvements,” she said.
These discussions will continue during a weeklong 3P planning session in mid-August to map out and complete the production flow for the new long-term care building. It will result in the creation of full-size three-dimensional layouts of facility rooms that will make even more design improvements possible.
“I think one of the things that we always acknowledge is that our staff are the experts in the work that they do and we need to include them in all of the aspects of planning because they really do hold the answers to some of the questions that we have on how we want to plan and move forward,” she said.
This process was also followed in the design of the new Maple Creek facility, but these full-sized scale models of rooms will be used more effectively over a longer period for the Swift Current facility by keeping them up during the entire construction period.
To make this possible the health region will be using the gymnasium at Walker Place to set up these mock-ups. The board approved the rental of this facility for a three-year period at a cost of $55,000 per year, which will be funded from the region’s unrestricted surplus.
“We want to leave it set up for the full duration so that we can test and trial things and really make sure we’ve got things in the right places,” Vachon said.
Cypress Health addresses oral health care concerns
Vachon informed the meeting about steps taken by Cypress Health to address provincial concerns over the oral health care of children.
“One of the population health issues that this province faces is the number of surgeries that children are requiring for dental works,” she said.
The health region is participating in a provincial initiative for oral care programming that is provided through schools. Cypress Health dental health educators have been visiting 28 eligible schools in the region to provide dental health information to children.
“We know that this is a preventable disease and there’s been a lot of focus as part of the surgical initiative on that prevention end of things,” she said. “We were able to get to all of our schools and complete the entire program, so that was good news.”
According to Vachon there will be ongoing efforts by the health region’s dental health educators to inform children about proper dental hygiene through school visits.
“They will continue now to do follow up kind of things and our dental educators are always in the schools,” she said. “That’s a big part of where they do their work.”
They will do assessments of children’s oral health during these visits and where necessary a letter will be send home to parents to inform them of the results and the recommendations to improve their child’s dental health.
Three physicians in Shaunavon
Vachon informed the meeting three physicians will be working out of the primary health-care site in Shaunavon by mid-August. In addition to long-time Shaunavon physician Dr. Pierre Louwrens, the health region has obtained the services of Dr. Siva Balasingham, who has previously practised in the community, and Dr. Roozbeh Rahmani.
According to Vachon the availability of three physicians is an important step in the transition to a primary health-care site and the implementation of the Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) model in Shaunavon.
“Once we get our primary health care all sorted out, then we’ll move to the night-time model, which is having a nurse and a paramedic working in the hospital,” she said. “The physicians won’t do on call for out patients. They’re still on call for the hospital patients and long-term care, but aren’t responding to the ER. So we want that up and running by early fall.”
The health region’s goal is to provide people with health services as close as possible to their homes.
Vachon anticipated the improvements to health service provision in Shaunavon will benefit those residents who might have been going elsewhere.
“What we know is that when we start to lose service providers in the community, people do start to seek services elsewhere,” she said. “So we know that when we start to increase our providers ... those people who might have gone to another community to seek services will often choose the convenience of getting their care closer to home. That’s usually what we find and we’re hopeful that that will be the case here as well.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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