Killaloe — Representatives from Valley Manor left last Tuesday night’s meeting of Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards (KHR) Township council with smiles on their faces knowing council had unanimously supported their request for a $15,000 donation for their redevelopment project of the long-term care home in Barry’s Bay.
Toni Lavigne-Conway, executive director of the St. Francis Valley Healthcare Foundation (SFVHF), Kathy Marion, board chair at Valley Manor, and Brent Dalgleish, vice-chair of the SFVHF, gave a formal presentation on the project, asking council to support it with a $15,000 commitment over a three-year period.
The trio gave a detailed presentation, chronicling the 40-year history of the facility, as they had done at five other municipalities they visited. They explained how the needs of the residents have changed over its four decade history, its proud reputation for the highest standards of care, and the vision of a new facility to see that reputation continue in the future with a new building that meets today’s guidelines.
Their presentation included testimonies from “the most important people”, the residents, speaking about the current manor and their excitement for the future, as well as staff, and family members. Ms. Lavigne-Conway noted how most people in the region have either had a family member or know of someone who has benefitted from the service the manor offers. On a personal note, she said when her mother-in-law (the late Joan Conway) was a resident there, she and husband, Dan, were so grateful she had had the opportunity to remain in her home town for the care she required and to allow her father-in-law the chance to visit each day.
Mrs. Marion chronicled how the needs of the residents have changed, necessitating changes in the facility. She said when the manor opened in 1978 as an assisted living home for seniors, only one of the 90 residents could not walk on their own.
“Now, there are still 90 residents, but every single one of them needs some sort of assertive device to be ambulatory.”
She proudly noted in 2017 Valley Manor received a four-year accreditation award.
“Most importantly, the award reflected the commitment and caring of the staff there and the resident-centered care.
“In 2017, the Valley Manor was the only home in Renfrew County to achieve a perfect Ministry of Health inspection report, and we did it again in 2018,” she added. “This means there were no unmet standards, there were no written orders, and there were no recommendations for improvements, and there was a high level of resident safety.”
Mr. Dalgleish noted his son, who is doing his doctorate in Toronto, informed him in 2012 the number of people over age 65 was greater than the number of 0 to 14 year olds.
“And, in 11 years in Canada, there will be 10 million more people that are 65 years of age or older,” he said. “So we are so thankful for manors.”
He also stressed the importance of the manor to the region, explaining it injects over $6 million into the local economy. He said the new manor will have 96 beds, six more than the current facility.
Mrs. Marion said as the building ages, expenses mount. She added every year the costs associated with a new building rise, so it’s imperative to start the project sooner than later.
She explained the new manor will have three “pods” and each one will include its own dining area. Each pod will serve 32 residents, making it much more manageable than 96 residents in one large area.
“So our message is this is urgent. We need to get on with this building, we need to keep Valley Manor in Barry’s Bay to provide a place for these vulnerable people in our own community.”
Ways To Help
Ms. Lavigne-Conway stressed the manor’s current license expires in 2025 and if the facility is not up to the new standards by then, the beds will be redistributed throughout the province. And while the manor administration and board have been working very diligently with the Ministry of Health, there are ways council can help with the project as there is an expectation of community support for the project.
She urged council to share the information it had received with others, continuing to be good ambassadors for the facility.
“We ask you to recognize the impact that having a long-term care home in our community has,” she said.
Mr. Dalgleish completed the presentation by pointing out KHR serves 1,689 households, suggesting a .25 cent per household, per month donation that would equate to $5,000 annually for three years to total a $15,000 pledge.
Mayor Janice Visneskie-Moore, who was participating by telephone as she continues her recovery from a broken leg, recommended council consider making the recommended donation. She congratulated the trio on their presentation, saying she too wanted to see the manor project proceed before the licence expired and the beds were lost.
She reminded council it had allocated $7,200 for another project at the budget meeting on Monday, but had been advised the following day that project would now not be proceeding as planned.
“That does leave the commitment that council had made for the $7,200,” she pointed out. “So I’m asking if council would consider making a motion today to agree to give the $5,000 for the three years for Valley Manor and plug that into our budget.”
Councillor Ted Browne asked how many residents of KHR were manor residents now/ Ms. Lavigne-Conway said it is difficult to obtain that number as people are constantly arriving and leaving.
“What I can say, yes, you do have residents from your area, and I would say you are probably the second highest at the time of the statistics I had in January.”
Mayor Visneskie Moore reminded council it’s not only about the number of residents there but how many may require it in the future.
Councillor Debbie Peplinskie, who was chairing the meeting in the mayor’s absence, called for a vote on the motion and it was passed unanimously.
“Wow, you guys get business done,” commented Ms. Lavigne-Conway. “We thank you so much, this is a great ending to our road show.”
“They cut to the chase,” Mr. Dalgleish added.
Mrs. Marion extended her thanks to council as well.
The following day, Ms. Lavigne-Conway expressed further thanks to KHR for their support.
“As the Foundation, the community, and Valley Manor we’re just extremely grateful to ambassadors like our municipal members at Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards council for continuing to be, not only progressive, but tremendously supportive of local health care.”
She said while KHR was the first of the six municipalities they visited to formally commit to their suggested pledge, she is confident the remaining five will follow suit.
“Although we haven’t gotten formal commitments from our other municipal partners, the presentation was well received at each council, and each and every one expressed their desire to be able to get behind the project.”
The other municipalities are Hastings Highlands, South Algonquin, Madawaska Valley, North Algona Wilberforce and Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglin.