peopleCare is rebuilding its 50-year home in Tavistock. The exact timeline of the construction project hasn’t been finalized yet, but the new, more modern building will be located behind the current home and schoolhouse.
Sheena Campbell is the Vice-President of Communications and Engagement at peopleCare and says while nothing has been done yet on the actual site, the behind-the-scenes activity has been ongoing. “We purchased the site directly behind the existing home. A lot of folks knew about it as we were going through the municipal planning process. Right now, we are working closely with the township as there are lots of steps in the development, but we have managed to get through quite a few of them working with the ministry as well.” Campbell adds they have hired a construction manager and are going out to tender on subtrades this week. “We are thrilled to share that we are going to be breaking ground this spring or summer. We are well under way with this project and are super excited about it.” peopleCare’s Tavistock home was the first of what now amounts to the company’s seven long-term care homes and one retirement home in Ontario. It will take anywhere from 14 to 16 months to complete the new build for a 128-bed home once shovels are in the ground. The current home houses up to 100 residents.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in recent years has made it easier for providers to improve homes or build new ones, something Campbell says is evident in the Tavistock project. “They have a strong commitment to get these beds built. I think we have seen that in a number of steps they have taken, not the least of which is an increase in the construction subsidy. They know we need to build these homes and they are trying to enable operators to do it by working in partnership with us.” She adds the working drawings have been submitted and the ministry has provided feedback, so some minor tweaking is all that is left to do.
Making the decision to build a new home or redevelop an existing one is not a decision made lightly by providers. Campbell says there are a number of factors they considered. “For every application we have for long-term care beds we look at demographics. We look at the needs in the community. It’s based on current wait lists and on what we see as the future need, and we really did feel the 128 does suit Tavistock and will fill quite a need there.”
Campbell says she is proud of peopleCare’s dedication to bring its homes up to date. “When we look across the peopleCare organization we had a number of ‘C’ homes are we are delighted that we have received redevelopment awards in all of those areas. We have a couple of others we are looking to redevelop, and we are focused on bringing more care to those communities.” peopleCare upgraded its home in Meaford, Ontario last year with the new facility opening in December of last year. Campbell adds there are many benefits to the communities they serve once a project is completed. “They bring more jobs which contributes to the local economy. There are many benefits at the local level.”
peopleCare is a for-profit, privately-owned company, a business model in health care that has come under greater scrutiny since the beginning of the pandemic. Campbell says her company’s philosophy speaks for itself. “We are family-owned and mission-driven. Regardless of ownership what really matters is the quality of the care you are providing, and we are focused on that. We often say if we are exceeding the expectations of our residents, staff, and families, then we know we are doing a good job.” She adds that with 40 thousand people on the long-term care wait list in Ontario, everyone needs to come together to meet the needs of aging adults. “There is space in this sector for all types of operators. From hospitals to municipalities, family-owned, not-for-profits. Everyone needs to come to the table.”