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Dementia village project agreement sets stage for new Comox development 

May 25, 2020 — Seniors in the Comox Valley will soon have access to innovative long-term care, with a particular focus on those living with dementia.

Providence Living is thrilled to have signed a project development agreement with Island Health to build and operate a 156-bed dementia village in the Comox Valley.

Established by Providence Health Care in 2017, Providence Living seeks to redefine our collective expectation of seniors’ care in British Columbia.

In 2019, The Views at St. Joseph’s in Comox – a 145-bed seniors care home – joined Providence Living with the goal of developing a dementia village and other seniors’ community care services at the site. It is envisioned that the operation of all Providence care homes will eventually be managed by Providence Living, to create an organization that is solely focused on seniors care. Further dementia villages and seniors’ long-term care services are planned for Providence’s St. Vincent’s Heather and Holy Family sites.

“Our government continues to take action to ensure seniors, especially those with complex care needs, are receiving the best care possible,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Friends and family should be confident knowing a loved parent or grandparent with dementia is in a safe environment, which is why I am pleased to see this project take another step towards meeting the needs of seniors in the Comox Valley.”

“We know there will be increased demand for dementia care in the years ahead and Island Health is committed to preparing our communities to meet those needs,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “We are so excited to see Vancouver Island’s first publicly funded dementia village be built in the Comox Valley.”

The dementia village in Comox will feature 148 publicly funded long-term care beds and eight publicly funded respite beds. It will be built on the site of the existing The Views long-term care home and the former St. Joseph’s General Hospital. Once completed, the dementia village will replace the existing beds at The Views.

“We are very pleased to take this next step in fulfilling our mandate to provide innovative seniors care by building a long-term care home modeled on the concepts of a dementia village,” said Jane Murphy, President and CEO of Providence Living. “The Views at St. Joseph’s has a long history in Comox, and we are committed to seeking community input to ensure we best meet local needs. We look forward to continuing our work with Island Health to advance our shared goal of helping seniors in the Comox Valley live to their full potential.”

Main features of the dementia village will include:

  • Small, self-contained households of 12 residents where each resident will have their own room and bathroom, leading to heightened infection control in a modern space
  • A social model of resident-directed care for people with dementia
  • Fostering free movement of people with dementia within a home and village setting
  • Ensuring resident involvement in everyday activities within the household or the wider, secure village
  • Focusing on individualized smaller groupings; cultural bonds, friendships, social activities
  • Emphasizing daily life and sense of belonging – involving residents with food preparation, cooking, laundry
  • Amenities for residents and community that include community gardens, child daycare, Island Health-funded adult day programs, and a community space, art studio, bistro and chapel.

“Island Health is proud to be on the forefront of meeting the evolving and increasingly complex needs of seniors,” said Mark Blandford, Island Health’s Executive Director of Primary Care & Seniors Health, Priority Populations & Initiatives. “Partnering with organizations that are taking the lead on developing new and innovative approaches to dementia care will ensure the people we care for have their needs met in the best possible way.”

Construction of the dementia village is estimated to cost $52.6 million. Island Health will provide annual operational funding to meet the Province’s target of 3.36 direct care hours per resident day. Providence Living has already begun the redevelopment planning process, with a goal of starting construction in 2021.

“As a resident of Comox for the past 25 years, I’ve seen the increased need for seniors’ care, and I’ve heard from people looking for choices in long-term care homes to meet their specific holistic needs,” said Ronna Rae Leonard, parliamentary secretary for seniors and MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “This innovative dementia village will help seniors experiencing dementia continue to have a good and dignified quality of life.”

Island Health and Providence Living are committed to consulting and engaging with stakeholders and the community as the project moves ahead.

Providence Living is the new name for Providence Residential and Community Care Services Society (PRCC).

Read more from the Island Health announcement.