Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 7, 2004
New Youville offers multi-care
Two-phase facility planned to meet residents' complex health needs
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Youville Home will soon start construction of a new, state of the art complex to replace its aging facility on St. Vital Avenue.
The new facility will consist of two phases, the first one a three-storey, $26.4-million continuing care centre with a capacity for 193 beds.
Phase One began with a groundbreaking ceremony June 1, but construction will begin in late July. Construction will be completed within 19 months. The older Youville Home will then be demolished to make way for Phase Two - a condo-like residence with 120 independent suites. Only the chapel will remain.
The current 162-bed facility is 40 years old and no longer meets the residents'needs, said executive director Ruby Manning.
Complex health needs
When Youville Home was built in the 1960s, its population was more independent and could perform the activities of daily living. Today's residents have "more complex health care needs" with the majority of them being wheelchair users, Manning noted.
Manning said the new building is a modern structure with a design that creates a more home-like atmosphere and promotes privacy for the residents.
Privacy in the current building is a luxury, for in many cases two residents live in rooms designed for one person.
"The majority of the rooms in our new building will be private," Manning said. "And there will be space for residents to sit quietly and in private with family and loved ones."
The new building will also feature dining areas that are "much more private, much more conducive to conversation rather than everybody in a big hall," said Youville spokesperson Celine Brassard. "And we'll also have areas that are specifically designed for recreation."
The architecture of the new building will take into consideration the previous buildings that have existed on the hill in the past. "It will have a steeple with a crucifix and will be based on Bishop's Grandin residence that's still standing from the 1860s," Brassard said.
The new facility will feature continuing care beds as well as designated assisted living and assisted living beds.
"So there will be a mix of services that people will be able to access depending on their needs," Manning said. "So, for example, in the designated assisted living part of the building, residents would be independent and would require limited services, whereas in the continuing care part, residents would require 24-hour care."
Phase Two will consist of what Manning called "supportive housing" units for people in the community who are independent. The aging in place facility will allow healthy seniors to live in their own suites, but if eventually they need more care, it will be available next door in Youville's continuing care wing.
"All these buildings on the site will be linked and that means that someone who is living in the supportive housing area could visit friends or family in the continuing care building without having to go outside in the winter," Manning said.
The Capital Health Authority will provide 40 per cent of the funding for Phase One and remaining funds will be borrowed privately. "We will also be asking the community to support Youville," Manning said.
Youville Home has been a home, a hospital and a continuing care centre since the Grey Nuns founded it in 1863.
It began to focus more clearly on the elderly in 1941 when the Grey Nuns changed their convent and orphanage into the Youville Asylum for the elderly. In 1949, the name was changed to Foyer Youville Home and the residence housed 90 seniors, most of them couples. In the mid-1960s, the Grey Nuns built a hospital-like nursing home for 164 residents and named it Youville Home.
In 2003, Capital Health announced approval of a new facility for Youville - this time based on an aging in place approach to continuing care and a public-private partnership model.
The Grey Nuns are no longer involved in the operation of Youville Home but their presence is still felt as six sisters live and serve in the home. The sisters, most of them in their 80s, still volunteer, feeding residents and helping out in the chapel.
"I would like to say that our commitment to the mission of the Grey Nuns is still central to our work here at the Youville," Manning said.