Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, has approved Designated Supportive Living Levels 4 and 4D funding in Vermilion, meaning residents will be able to stay within the community as they age.
The Vermilion & District Housing Foundation (VDHF) will be receiving $500,000 from the province to cover the equipment and renovation costs needed at the Vermilion Valley Lodge for the additions.
There were previously no Level 4 beds available in the community, which provide a higher level of personal care on-site, so residents with those care needs were sent out of town, up to 200 kilometres away from their families and the life they knew.
The 20 Level 4 rooms will offer electric beds, on-site nursing for chronic disease management and lift transfers, while 20 Level 4D rooms will offer additional care for residents with dementia.
“Since coming to this community, I have been working with the board and the community to find a solution to supporting our seniors to stay in our community as their health care needs increase beyond what we can provide at the VDHF,” said CAO Paul Kim.
“We are pleased that the ministry supports the VDHF to expand their services to include DSL4 care.”
The VDHF plans to transform some of their current Supportive Living Level 3 rooms into Level 4 and 4D, as well as to provide another 25 local jobs.
“The realistic timeline of this transition will be carried out in phases by moving current residents one house at a time,” said Kim.
“It is part of the VDHF’s strategic plan to keep 18 beds for DSL3 if we can secure operational funding from AHS by moving the current SL3 residents to the main floor of Vermilion Valley Lodge Wing-B.”
They are still waiting on confirmation of a staff funding agreement from AHS in order to provide positions such as Health Care Aides, a License Practical Nurse (LPN), Resident Care Manager, or Director of Care (RN), Recreation Therapist, Recreation Aide and additional Support Service Workers such as housekeepers, laundry attendants, dining room servers and cooks.
Town councillor Robert Pulyk said the issue had been percolating for nearly a dozen years, with husbands and wives being separated due to their health, and that having the service available will now create security for everyone in the community.
“This is exciting news for our community. Now we will be able to provide all levels of senior care,” said Caroline McAuley, VDHF Chair and Mayor of Vermilion.
“We thank the Minister for hearing and addressing our concerns. I am really hoping by the fall we will be able to cut a ribbon allowing seniors to age in our community.”