Fraser Health is building a new long-term care “community” in Delta that will include a stand-alone child care facility and an adult day program for those living independently off-site.
On Thursday (June 8), Health Minister Adrian Dix joined Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee, Housing Minister and Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, Delta Hospital and Community Health Foundation executive director Lisa Hoglund, Delta Mayor George Harvie and others to announce plans to replace the 46-year-old Mountain View Manor adjacent to Delta Hospital with new facility, expanding capacity at the site from 92 to 200 beds.
The facility will be designed as small “households” accommodating 12 or 13 residents, each with their own single-bed room and bathroom. These units will also feature social and recreational spaces found in a typical home, such as a living room, dining room, activity space and access to the outdoors, according to a Ministry of Health press release.
There will also be community spaces and services for residents, families, visitors and staff, including art and activity rooms, a hair salon, a sacred space and a 32-space adult day program for people living more independently.
As well, an innovative stand-alone child daycare facility will be constructed and offer 49 spaces for families.
“Ensuring seniors across B.C. have confidence that when they age they will receive care services that will allow them to stay healthy, active and safe in their community is a priority for our government,” Dix said at Thursday’s announcement.
“That’s why we continue to take meaningful action and invest in care homes, like the one in Delta, to ensure people have access to home-like care in the community.”
Fraser Health will construct, own and operate the long-term care community on vacant land at the Delta Hospital site. The project is in the procurement phase, with construction expected to begin in 2025 and be complete in 2027.
Capitol costs will be funded with $179.7 million from the Ministry of Health, with another $18.5 million committed by the Delta Hospital and Community Health Foundation.
“Delta’s seniors are the very heart of our community. They are the builders, the nurturers, the founders and the community champions. They’re hard work and generous spirit have made Delta what it is today, and it’s time for us to build the kind of home that they deserve — a home that honours every story, and a home that we can all be proud of,” , Hoglund said Thursday.
“We are so looking forward to this project becoming a reality as we work together to truly transform seniors’ care in Delta.”
According to the press release, the new “care community” model takes lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic into account with designs that use new best-practice infection-control standards to improve pandemic resiliency while also being culturally sensitive to serve a diverse population.
As well, Fraser Health will be partnering with local First Nations during the design phase to ensure the facility is a “culturally safe” care home.
“Home is where our hearts are. It’s where we gather with our loved ones. It’s where we feel safe, it’s where we go to rest, and it’s where we have comfort and we also have connection. For long-term care and for seniors, it means that we’ll be providing that additional layer of care and health-care services,” Lee said Thursday.
Lee said having a daycare on site will actually have health benefits to the facility’s residents.
“There’s good evidence that provides information about how generations living and being at the same centre/facility makes a big difference, not only for the children and families that are going to be here, but also for the seniors that will be here. So [it is] a very, very thoughtful design,” Lee said.
Kahlon said the need for expanded long-term care services at Delta Hospital has been on his radar since he was elected in 2017, and acknowledged the collaboration between stakeholders and various levels of government that led to Thursday’s announcement.
“We know we have an aging population here in British Columbia. We know that the demand for this type of support service is only going to grow, and this type of investment here today is really fantastic news for us.”
Harvie called Thursday’s announcement “a great day, one of the best days we’ve had in Delta in a long, long time.”
“We need this facility, and I’m so happy to see that we have more options for our Deltans where they don’t have to leave our beautiful city,” he said.
Harvie thanked the foundation, hospital auxiliary, provincial government and hospital staff for their tremendous work, recalling a time two decades prior when the government planned on closing Delta Hospital.
“In 2000, when we came very close … to losing this precious hospital, the community rose up. The community stopped it. The community made the provincial government of the day change. And look at [the hospital] now,” he said.
“But we can’t stop here. Once this project’s over, we expect to do some more projects to keep this hospital the strength that it is our community, and ensure it’s viable for all Deltans.”
Harvie said the City of Delta will be doing “whatever we can to help” in making the new facility a reality, including waving building permit fees and development cost charges, and fast-tracking approvals once the plans are submitted for staff and council’s consideration.
Dix said the government has set aside more than $2 billion in its 10-year capitol plan to replace dozens of aging long-term care facilities across B.C., calling it a “debt” to be paid to the future and to staff who “worked in this very difficult period in long-term-care,” alluding to the lockdowns and deadly outbreaks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of our long-term care facilities, especially health authority-owned and -operated ones, are simply old. Seventeen of them were built before 1970, if you can imagine. Thirty-five of them were built before 1980, as was the case here in Delta. So we need to both change and provide better services than those beds.”