| Sep 30, 2010

Photo: Pine Meadow resident Jacquiline Anderson

It’s been a long haul and the shovels won’t hit the ground until next spring, but the future of the Pine Meadow Nursing Home in Northbrook has been secured through a redevelopment agreement with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

The upgrade to the home will only marginally increase the number of patients who will be living at Pine Meadow, but the level of accommodation will be improved.

The home is currently a B class home, which means, among other things, that some residents live in four- person wards. As a class A home, which will be Pine Meadow’s designation once the redevelopment is complete, all residents will live in private or semi-private rooms.

“We have to do this redevelopment in phases because the home has to keep operating during construction and we are not going to inconvenience our residents,” said Bonnie George, the administrator at Pine Meadow.

Phase One of the four-phase construction project will be the construction of a new east and north wing, as well as the creation of a centralized secured courtyard between these wings for future use by residents. This phase is slated to start in May of 2011 and be completed a year later.

Phase 2, which is slated for the spring and summer of 2012, involves dining room renovations, enlarging the hairdressing space and increasing laundry space among other things.

The third phase is the addition of a new car port and a chapel and it will take place in the summer of 2012.

The fourth phase has to do with the development of outpatient clinics for dialysis and physiotherapy, which will be accessed directly from clients outside of the home and will also be accessible to residents as well.

Once the renovations are complete, the two 32-bed wings of the home will be independent pods, each with its own nursing station, dining room and recreation area.

As part of the redevelopment agreement, the province is forwarding $250,000 to cover design and pre-constructions costs, many of which have already been incurred.

“We will also be borrowing $5 million to complete construction,” said Bonnie George. “We’ve applied to Infrastructure Ontario for the financing, and will pay that money back over 25 years. The money to pay back the loan will come from the increased facilities grant that an A class facility receives over a B class facility.”

There will also be an increase in staffing levels as the result of the upgrade. George expects that another registered staff and one or two other staff members will need to be hired.

Ernest Lapchinski, a member of the Pine Meadow Management Committee who has been actively promoting the redevelopment project for a number of years, is very happy to see that all of the applications, all of the meetings, have finally paid off.

“It has been a long time coming, about eight years, but I am feeling satisfied that we have finally gotten to this point,” he said.

As part of the redevelopment plan, Lapchinski is chairing a new fundraising committee, which has a goal of raising $50,000 from the community to go towards the redevelopment project. An appeal to the public will be launched soon, and a number of fundraising events will follow.

Money has also been sought from municipal sources for the redevelopment. Lennox and Addington County, for one, has committed $25,000 per year for 10 years towards the project.

The success in attaining the provincial go–ahead for the redevelopment comes about as Pine Meadow celebrates another, more personal success story.

A 76-year-old woman was admitted to Pine Meadow in January. At the time she couldn’t sit in a dining room chair and was unable to take care of herself. “After ten months of physio and nutritional therapy, she is now going back to her son’s home,” said Bonnie George. “That’s a great outcome for her, and for us.”

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.