For 105 years, it has provided patient-centered care to those with mental health issues. The Saskatchewan Hospital, however, is way past its prime and a new state-of-the art facility to replace it remains under construction.
Up to 550 construction workers have been on-site during peak times but the completion date had to be pushed back to autumn.
On Tuesday, Access Prairies Partnership announced the two to three month delay after the project was scheduled to be complete on June 1.
This tie-up will be Access Prairies responsibility and will not have an impact on the provincial government because of the nature of the public-private partnership (P3) work agreement.
“It’s not going to have a huge impact on our plans, we’re still excited,” Saskatchewan Hospital director Linda Shynkaruk said on Wednesday in North Battleford.
“There’s always expected delays with a project this huge and so we’re just thrilled it’s not a year, a couple months is nothing.”
The new hospital is just west of the century-old hospital site where patients suffering and struggling with mental health issues are provided care.
The building is cramped, crowded, uncomfortable and outdated for both patients and staff who work there.
“The staff are fantastic. They’re not lacking that,” Mary Ellen Buckwold said.
“What they’re lacking is a place for them to have some privacy, they share bedrooms right now, they share bathrooms – the facility is just old.”
Buckwold’s son is in the hospital’s care and he will still be a patient when this new state-of-the-art facility is opened.
It is light, bright and when it opens will have 284 beds, 96 of which will be part of a secure unit for offenders in need of mental health treatment.
“For staff, safety-wise there will be much better sight lines than there are here. There will not be the passing through from one unit to another unit, we’ll have outside hallways for people to access each unit so there’s so many brand news initiatives, and we can’t wait to move.”
Approximately 180 patients are admitted to Saskatchewan Hospital every year. The average patient age is 34 and the average length of stay is 18 months.
There are also long-term patients, some of been there for over 40 years so the move to the modern hospital site can’t come soon enough.
“The hardest part for us is going to be managing expectations of patients and staff because they’re just not going to be able to move in as quickly as they would like to,” Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said.
When they finally get the opportunity to move into the new facility, the goal is for the environment to provide hope to patients because in the end this is about people not the four walls that surround them.
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