When Saskatoon Health Region approved its operating and capital budgets for the 2014-2015 fiscal year last week, one of the difficult decisions the board and senior leaders had to make was regarding the required renovations to the Dust Wing at St. Mary's Villa in Humboldt. The board has approved a budget which does not include renovations of the Dust Wing in the current fiscal plan.
"We have undergone a thorough process of evaluating the structural needs at St. Mary's Villa," says Nilesh Kavia, vice president of Finance and Corporate Services. "Last year, we conducted an engineering assessment of the section of St. Mary's which has been closed since early 2012 and found that the costs to bring it up to current long term care standards is beyond our financial means this year."
The Dust Wing was closed when structural problems were discovered during routine reviews of the building. Residents were moved to another part of the home at the time leaving Dust Wing vacant.
Last year, the Region received $1.6 million from the Ministry of Health to repair Dust Wing. The Region set aside $100,000 to undertake a full assessment of the area to determine next steps. The resulting report guided the Region in developing four options:
- remediation of structural issues and required systems repairs only (40 beds at $1.7 million);
- structural remediation and renovation of interior spaces to meet current long term care design standards for level of care and accessibility (28 beds at $4.814 million);
- demolition of Dust Wing with no rebuild ($300,000);
- demolition and reconstruction of Dust Wing (28 beds at $13.3 million).
Option 2) was the preferred option and would have brought Dust Wing to current long term care standards however, it far exceeds the funding available to the Region.
"We know the community and the staff of St. Mary's will be disappointed in this decision," says Corey Miller, vice president of Integrated Health Services. "The staff wants to ensure they can meet the needs of the residents, and the community wants a viable long term care home for families in the area. We want the same thing, but we are unable to meet that expectation this year."
The Saskatoon Regional Health Authority and the Region's senior leaders are assessing options and will revisit the plan again in the fall in the context of demands for long term care throughout the Region.
St. Mary's Villa is a long term care home in Humboldt, owned and operated by Saskatoon Health Region. It is home to 85 residents and the work place for 185 staff.