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New Comox, BC care village will give residents freedom to choose, move and connect.

June 14, 2022 – A new kind of long-term care is coming to Comox and none too soon for the residents and families who are watching Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea rise on the former 14- acres site of St. Joseph’s Hospital, in Comox.

Yesterday, on Monday, June 13, a ceremonial swinging of hammers marked the official start of construction on the $52.6 million project will feature 156 beds in a state-of-the-art facility modelled on the concept of a dementia village. Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea will replace The Views at St. Joseph’s, the obsolete long-term care facility that currently sits on the site.

Based on the concept of a dementia village, the project is slated to open in mid-2024 with a style of care that moves away from the traditional medical/institutional model toward a social/relational model of care emphasizes emotional and social connections, flexible routines, collaborative teams, and an environment that feels like home.

Residents are counting the days until they can move in.

A full roster of podium guests, including BC Minister of Health Adrian Dix (centre) took part in a ceremonial nail-hammering at Monday’s Construction-Start Event, on the building site of Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea in Comox.

“Our loved ones watch the construction site daily, and all progress is met with excited chatter,” said Lynn Madill, whose mother, Eva, has lived at The Views for four years, and currently share her room with three others. “Everyone is looking forward to moving into their new home. I know I speak for all residents and families when I say we’re all thrilled to see construction starting on this project.”

Founded as a non-profit in 2017 by Providence Health Care, Providence Living will finance, construct, own and operate the new long-term care home, with contributions totalling $54 million from the Province through Island Health. With a mandate to re-envision long-term care, Providence Living’s first project is in Comox, but others will follow in Vancouver and, eventually, beyond.

The K’omoks Nation welcomed attendees to Monday’s event. K’omoks members have been instrumental partners in the design of Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea. Plans for an Indigenous sacred space has resulted from this work, and will hold a position of prominence in the one-acre garden of the new care village.

The Comox project represents a new vision for long-term care in BC and will advance the provincial direction for long-term care improvements. The project has been made possible with generous support of Providence Living’s partners — St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation and the Auxiliary Society for Comox Valley Healthcare.

Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea’s innovative physical design around a secure, one-acre courtyard will offer a new model of long-term care based on the de Hogeweyk dementia village in the Netherlands.

When complete in 2024, it will consist of small, self-contained households of 12 private rooms each with its own bathroom. Care staff will be common to each household, fostering interpersonal connection between residents and caregivers.

Intergenerational connections will be fostered on-site as well, thanks to a $1.2 million provincial grant from ChildCareBC’s New Spaces Fund. Operated by the Comox Valley Children’s Day Care Society, “Joyful Journeys” will provide care for 32 children whose parents work at the new facility as well as those from the wider community.

Calling Providence Living Place, Together by the Sea “a new benchmark” for how to provide care, BC’s Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, said the new build and its new model of care will show that there is a better way to provide long-term care.

“This project is about allowing all people to live their lives to the fullest extent of their capabilities,” he said at Monday’s event. “We can do better, together, and that’s what we’re doing here.”