A Request for Proposal to provide much needed renovations and construct a new assisted living facility to provide a higher level of care to keep seniors in the Drumheller Valley is now open for bids.
The new facility will be funded by a $7 million grant by the provincial government to construct a 26 bed Enhanced Assisted Living facility, which will be attached to Hillview Lodge, while renovations to the 500 wing of Sunshine Lodge will be funded by the Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation (DDSF).
DDSF board chair and Town of Drumheller Councillor Tom Zariski told the Mail, “By combining the two projects into one (Request for Proposal) and one project, it should save both projects money.”
Rooms in the 500 wing of Sunshine Lodge were originally constructed more than 50 years ago. The rooms are small, many with incomplete bathrooms, which has made them difficult to rent out over the years. Councillor Zariski notes there is an irony in having empty rooms at the lodge while also having a waiting list.
The project to demolish and reconstruct the 500 wing with more modern rooms will cost $5 million and funding for this is provided by DDSF.
The second arm of the project, construction of a new Enhanced Assisted Living Facility, will help provide extended care to seniors in the Drumheller Valley.
Seniors care is categorized into a total of five levels of care, ranging from independent living with minimal assistance at Level 1, up to 24 hour professional nursing at Level 4; there is also a separate designation for patients with dementia, DSL 4D.
Currently, seniors in Drumheller and area have access up to Level 3 care in local facilities and facilities managed by DDSF in Morrin and Delia. Higher level of care is available in Continuing Care at the Drumheller Health Centre, though this is dependent on space. If the hospital is full these residents are forced to leave Drumheller.
The nearest DSL 4 and 4D facilities are located in Stettler and Red Deer. Patients may also be transferred to Hanna Health Centre if space is available. The new facility will allow residents in need of DSL 4 care to remain in the valley.