The Ontario government is adding 224 new long-term care spaces for a new building in Peterborough as part of 80 long-term care projects announced across the province on Thursday.
Family owned and operated peopleCareCommunities has been allocated the spaces to create a new long-term care facility on land owned by Trent University. The Waterloo-based company owns long-term care and retirement homes across the province.
The 150,000 square-foot building will be situated at the corner of Woodland Drive and Water Street, just north of the campus. Construction plans have yet to be announced but it is estimated the project will take 18 months to complete.
Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith says the project will help modernize Ontario’s long-term care sector, reduce waitlists and end hallway medicine. He says the need for long-term care in the city is significant.
“For years, a lot was promised when it came to long-term care and little was delivered — that’s changed,” he said. “Today’s announcement is another example of the real, tangible progress we’re making in Peterborough towards building a modern long-term care system that meets the needs of our community.”
Brent Gingerich, chairman and CEO of peopleCare, says the company is thrilled to have the chance to build and operate a “world-class long-term care Centre of Excellence” in the city’s north end.
“We sincerely thank the government for their ongoing investments to modernize care and services for seniors in this province,” he said.
“We are also pleased to work with another leading and innovative organization like Trent University to bring teaching, research, clinical best practices and intergenerational connections to life through this exciting collaboration.”
Trent’s president and vice-chancellor Dr. Leo Groarke says the university will help co-design a building to improve the lives of seniors and advance student life and learning in what he calls a “groundbreaking intergenerational project.”
“Trent is committed to the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities in which we reside,” he said. “This new agreement with peopleCareCommunities will continue this tradition.
“This is an exciting initiative which will build on Trent’s reputation as a globally-recognized, age-friendly university — and help address the region’s need for long-term care beds, career experiences for students and leading research in gerontology.”
A key part of the arrangement between Trent and peopleCare is to provide experiential hands-on and simulated clinical learning for nursing students, as well as those in social work, kinesiology and other of programs. A strategic goal of this collaboration is to interest students in geriatric care, a sector challenged to attract young healthcare leaders.
“At a time when it is needed most, the new university-integrated seniors’ village positions Trent at the forefront of community engaged research and teaching on aging and long-term care in Canada,” stated Dr. Mark Skinner, Canada research chair (CRC) in rural aging, health, and social care, founding director of the Trent Centre for Aging and Society and dean of Social Sciences and Humanities at Trent University.
“This initiative confirms Trent’s longstanding commitment to providing students the opportunity for inspiring and impactful experiential learning that will make a difference in the lives of the people who need it most. Led by the Trent Centre for Aging & Society, Trent/Fleming School of Nursing and programs across the arts and sciences, a new research and teaching partnership in promising practices for long-term care is already underway. In really exciting ways, this initiative provides the foundation for furthering Trent’s contribution to the region’s incredible response to the opportunities and challenges of population aging.”
Peterborough is the third oldest community in Canada, with almost 2,500 people waiting two to four years for a long-term care bed, says peopleCare president Megan Allen-Lamb.
“We look forward to designing a LTC home, with Trent University and our new community partners, that enables seniors to live and age well, and more independently — receiving a range of care, services and community-based health and social supports, all in one place,” she said. “This integrated, vibrant and sustainable solution promotes social relationships and inclusion, and healthy aging, which is incredibly valuable to today’s seniors and their families as their needs change over time.”
The province’s 80 projects will create an additional 7,510 new and 4,197 upgraded long-term care spaces.