Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com
HUNTSVILLE — A huge step in the transition of Fairvern Nursing Home to a District of Muskoka-run LTC facility came today with provincial approval for 64 new beds to be built at the old hospital here.
Fairvern is currently a 76-bed long-term care home operated by a not-for-profit board of directors.
MPP Norman said in an announcement outside its front doors this morning, Friday Nov. 20, that he was “thrilled” that a new facility will now include 160 beds in a “21st century facility built to modern standards that address issues like infection prevention and control.”
This is one of 29 projects Ontario announced today that will create 1,968 new long-term care spaces and upgrade another 1,015 spaces.
Miller said waiting list for long-term care in Ontario “has been too long for many years.”
As of June 2020 there were 38,500 people on the waitlist for a long-term care bed.
He said the additional beds — which were allocated to the District of Muskoka — “will reduce local wait-lists and improve the quality of life for our seniors living in care.”
The new facility, to be built on land donated by Pat Dubé, will incorporate these 64 new beds, the redevelopment of the 76 existing spaces currently at Fairvern and a previous approval of 20 spaces.
The result will be a “campus of care” where multiple services are provided for residents on one site.
Miller said the Fairvern board, Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano, district chair John Klinck and former mayor Scott Aitchison the riding’s new MP have been working hard on this for years.
Terziano added “I want to recognize the generous donation of the land by Pat Dubé.”
“This is an exciting day for Huntsville and all residents as not only 160 long term care beds will be available in our community, but this will save 100 existing jobs and also create 100-plus new jobs. It is great news.”
Fairvern board chair Dana Murdy called it a “historic day for long-term care in Muskoka.”
“The dedication of board members present and past, along with the immense support of our community, has brought us to the announcement today, that the development of the new Fairvern will be going ahead.
“The scope of the project is beyond what a small not-for-profit corporation could take on and we are thankful the District of Muskoka understands the importance of the project for the whole of Muskoka and has stepped forward to make a new Fairvern a reality.
Ontario says it is investing $1.75 billion to create 30,000 long-term care beds over 10 years and brings the total number of new and upgrades spaced in the pipeline to 22,368.
In addition, it says the Nov. 5 budget committed to an average of four hours of direct care per day for seniors living in LTCs, the first province in Canada, in says, to do that.
So why is Fairvern being redeveloped?
According to the district, the Ministry of Long-Term Care (MOLTC) requires the existing home to be redeveloped to meet current provincial design standards by 2025.
Provincial approval for up to 96 beds had already been secured in the initial redevelopment plans.
In general, homes of 160 beds are recognized across the long-term care industry as more financially efficient and sustainable to operate.
Why is the district involved?
The Fairvern board advised the district in late 2019 that it couldn’t afford to develop a new facility and asked Muskoka to take over and build anew.
The district already owns and operates the Pines, a 160-bed long-term care facility in Bracebridge.
District council voted Feb. 18 to take the lead in applying to the province for the additional 64 beds at Fairvern.
So, what’s next?
Fairvern and the district will work on plans to transition its ownership and management.
Regular communications with Fairvern residents, their families, staff and the community are planned to help ensure a smooth transition.
Until then, Fairvern will be governed by its board and run by its current staff.
The partners have been working collaboratively for several years on the design of a new building in Huntsville.
“The last nine months of this pandemic have highlighted the importance of long-term care in our communities and the need to ensure safe, sustainable care for our most cherished and vulnerable members of the community,” said district chair John Klinck. “Muskoka has an aging population and we are very grateful that the province has approved additional beds to help meet our current and future needs in Muskoka.”
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