SJCCC Hosts Groundbreaking for New Rehab Centre

Krystine Therriault - Seaway News
SJCCC Hosts Groundbreaking for New Rehab Centre
Left to right: Leesa McNally, Director of Therapeutic Services; Mayor Justin Towndale; Paul Desnoyers, SJCCC Board Chair; Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire, Executive Director; Tony Ingram, Director of Support Services; Colette Boucher, Foundation Director; Nolan Quinn, MPP (Photo : Submitted photo)

In a special ground-breaking ceremony last Friday, St. Josephs Continuing Care Centre (SJCCC) announced that construction will commence this week on their new industry-leading rehabilitation centre.

SJCCC encompasses St. Josephs Villa’s 150 long term care beds and Hôtel Dieu Hospital’s 58 inpatient beds for rehabilitation. The goal of the rehabilitation program is building the strength and confidence needed to get home after surgery, illness, or an adverse event impacts a patient’s ability to live independently.

In addition to things like mobility and balance, the rehabilitation program considers patients’ medication, diet, and where they will be discharged to when coming up with a treatment plan. To make sure patients thrive and not just survive after discharge, the team also works with them on Activities of Daily Living (ADL) retraining, which includes things like grooming, dressing, bathing, and household activities.

“St. Josephs Continuing Care Centre has had a dream. It’s a dream to build a therapeutic space to support our rehabilitation program which is held in our hospital,” said Executive Director, Gizanne Lafrance-Allaire.

“In 2017 when we started, around 208 patients flowed through the program in the year. Fast forward to 2022, 350 people have flowed through the program.”

Lafrance-Allaire explained that despite the hospital not being built for rehabilitation, and no new beds being added, they have been able to meet increasing demand for services by repurposing old beds and adapting to the changing needs of the community.

When COVID hit and there was a need to practice safe distancing, rehabbing took place in stairwells, hallways, and rooms. Now that most restrictions have lifted, the time has finally come to build a rehabilitation space that does justice to the important work being done at SJCCC.

Leesa McNally, Director of Therapy, “I have watched this rehabilitation program grow exponentially over the last several years and I’ve watched our team of very skilled professionals have to adapt and adjust on a day-to-day basis to meet the needs of the patients that are flowing through our program.”

“I am very hopeful that this new rehabilitation space will help us kind of increase our intensity of rehab by having a space where we can actually flow our patients through.”

The new rehabilitation centre will be the first of its kind in Cornwall. A 2400-sq-foot space for sub-acute rehab with large windows letting in a lot of natural light. The space is designed to be flexible and allow teams to respond to gaps in community needs, since SJCCC sees influxes of different types of patients.

In addition to modern, state of the art exercise equipment, the centre will be equipped with innovative digital health solutions. This includes an automated scheduling system to better improve communication between patients, their families, and staff.

Tony Ingram, Director of Support Services, has worked for the centre for 43 years and knows the 160,000 square foot property like the back of his hand. He explained that because of previous projects on the property they won’t have to dig down in the ground or cut the floors to do this renovation, saving a lot of noise and dirty work.

Since there would not be actual “ground” breaking for this project, the team had something else in mind. Sitting in the room was a round planter filled with soil. Ingram explained that when they completed the facility as it is now, they took soil from the property and used it to fill the raised garden beds that serve as a wheelchair accessible outdoor space for residents during the warmer months.

“I guess that’s the advantage of being here 40-plus years you remember things like that,” he shared.

“The original soil went into the bottom of those things. So, this morning, I made Christie get her shovel out…” Ingram said to a round of laughter from the room.

This ground-breaking event launches both the 8-month construction project starting this week as well as the launch of the foundation’s fundraising campaign, ‘Stronger Together’, whose target is to fundraise $680,000 to support the project.


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