All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Monday, December 11th, 2023

McFarland Home re-development vision shared at open house

By Sharon Harrison
The replacement of the only long-term care home run by the municipality in Prince Edward County has been in the cards for some time as the current structure begins to reach its senior years.

The elephant in the room, however, is the unknown complete cost of constructing a new 160-bed facility, and perhaps most important, who pays for it, something that remains unknown as this time.

Wednesday saw a public open house where the community could learn about the work that has occurred to date on the design aspect of the proposed re-development of the H.J. McFarland Memorial Home which will see it almost double the number of beds it offers.

Held at the Picton Town Hall on Ross Street, there were two separate drop-in style sessions, the first at noon, and another at 6 p.m., with brief presentations provided at each.

In his presentation, Kyle Cotton, director of long-term care at McFarland, spoke to the existing home and why there is a need for re-development, the planning and pre-design, and re-development funding. There was also ample opportunity for members of the public to speak with staff and the re-development team.

Half a dozen information boards set-up around the room further explained the process and plans, enabling the public to familiarize themselves with the re-development vision, which included the building layout, site plan, functional areas and so on.

Along with members of the project management team, including architects and consultants, a large contingent of County staff were present for the sessions, including H.J. McFarland Memorial Home staff and management, who outnumbered members of the public at the lunchtime session.

McFarland staff indicated how very excited they are about the proposed re-development plans, especially the expanded footprint, and also its close proximity to the current site.

It is anticipated the municipality in the next several years hopes to construct a facility projected to be 108,000-120,000 square feet in size on the four acres of municipally-owned land adjacent to the existing long-term care home on County Road 49.

It is intended the current two-storey facility, built in 1975, which consists of 84 (class C) beds and is divided into four resident home areas will become surplus. Possible re-purposing may include adapting the structure to accommodate affordable housing, childcare needs, etc., something some McFarland staff were pleased to know it could be used for something useful.

“The need to re-develop has taken into consideration the minimum standards identified by the 2015 Long-Term Care Home design manual, post COVID-19 requirements, and factors in infection prevention and control best practice guidelines and information gleaned from other long-term care sector partners,” said Cotton. “A new building will provide increased program areas, larger physical spaces to promote resident health and well-being, visiting, social engagement, and include amenity spaces for services.”

The municipality received approval in 2019 from the Ministry of Long-term Care to operate 76 additional beds, in addition to the existing 84 beds currently in use at McFarland, for a total of 160 beds at the new facility.

Cotton noted that the number of people in Prince Edward County over the age of 75 is 3,585, or 13.95 per cent of the overall population (versus 7.97 per cent in Ontario).

There are four long-term care homes in the County providing 222 long-term care spaces. 99.10 per cent of those 220 beds fall into the class B and C classification system, something the ministry indicates must be re-developed, and something Cotton called a “significant number”.

He also explained that during COVID, the municipality lost 51 beds which had to be shut down during the pandemic due to social distancing and infection control requirements as some facilities (not McFarland) had the traditional style four-bed wards.

“To our knowledge, we are the only long-term care facility in the County that is re-developing, or at the stage of re-development,” he said. “We are essentially leading the pack and we are really impressed with that, and are pleased to be the first.”

It is intended for the current home to remain in operation while the new building is under construction.

Over the past year, the re-development team, consisting of H.J. McFarland managers and front-line team members, architects and consultants have been working on the functional programming (operations) and the pre-design phase of the proposed long-term care home.

To date, the functional program and pre-design work has progressed and focused on key elements, such as private spaces, resident home areas (“neighbourhoods”), communal resident spaces, support services and shared functions, central/shared community and outdoor areas, as well as administration services, staff amenities, and central and building services.

“The design team also toured three long-term care homes to look at some of their features and design elements,” he said. “This provided a unique opportunity to speak with other operators, residents and staff to obtain valuable insight into operational details and how these homes function. “

It is anticipated that approximately 675-750 square feet will be allocated per resident bed for the new 160-bed home.

Addressing the funding element of the proposed project, Cotton said great strides have been made to make the project financially sustainable. He, however, noted that a re-development project of this magnitude “represents a significant capital investment for a small, rural municipality, like the County of Prince Edward.”

He noted the municipality, along with AdvantAge Ontario, the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and other long-term care operators continue to advocate for additional opportunities for the province to extend the CFS (construction funding subsidy) top-up funding.

Cotton mentioned that during the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference last week in London, Ontario, County Mayor Steve Ferguson met with the Paul Calandra, minister of long-term care, and came away with the message of “don’t stop your re-development planning”.

During the open house, the public had the opportunity to provide feedback on the various elements of the new long-term care home, as well as ask questions.

In addition to the public open houses held Aug. 30, other open houses held the day before at the home were made available to the home’s residents, staff and volunteers, as well as residents’ family members, family council and residents’ council.

While firm construction timelines are currently unknown, and the project subject to provincial government funding becoming available, Cotton indicated the municipality would like to begin construction in 2024.

A financial plan for the re-development of the home is not yet available. An update is expected to be prepared by staff to come before council this fall (currently proposed for the Oct. 10 council meeting).

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesNews from Everywhere Else

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.

OPP reports
lottery winners
Elizabeth Crombie Janice-Lewandoski
Tony Scott Sharon Armitage

© Copyright Prince Edward County News 2023 • All rights reserved.