© Scott Anderson
Premier Brad Wall and Health Minister Dustin Duncan take a close look at the proposed design model of the new Swift Current Long-Term Care facility developed during a staff led 'Production Preparation Process' (3P) this past week.
Cypress Health Region employees took the lead in forming ideas and helping develop the design and concept for Swift Current's new long-term care facility.
This past week was an intensive ground-up design opportunity for Health Region employees, as they spent five full days formulating a design for the replacement 225 bed long-term care facility which will replace the existing 198 beds offered at the Palliser Regional Care Centre, Swift Current Care Centre and the Prairie Pioneer Lodge.
The recommended design developed through a 'Production Preparation Process' or 3P, was unveiled during a 'report out' this past Friday, with Premier Brad Wall and Health Minister Dustin Duncan on hand to view the progress of the project. The facility will be the first Saskatchewan long-term care project built through a P3 process, and it will also be the first long-term care facility designed via the 3P process.
"We don't want to create a home-like environment, we want to create a home," explained Cypress Health Region CEO Beth Vachon.
"It's really about the model of care that we want to create, which is going to be very different from how we do things now. And the environment needs to support how we're going to do that work. So that's a key to it, it's not just a building, it's all about the model of care that we need to implement."
Employees began the week deciding the needs and wants of amenities for the facility, and began to work through paper designs to floor plan models right up to full-size mock rooms to incorporate their design.
Premier Wall admitted after viewing Friday's 90 minute walk-through presentation that this start to finish 3P process was inspiring.
"We've been looking, as a government, across the province at the state of healthcare facilities, and you'll be aware of a number of them that need renewal and replacement, and how do we achieve these things with the patient or the resident first and foremost in mind? Informed by what the front-line staff will tell us. But also how do we do it in an innovative way where we can afford to get as much done as possible. And here is a confluence of all three of those things. It is hard not to be inspired," Wall told the participants.
Health Minister Duncan noted that front-line workers are important in the facility design process, as they are best qualified to share the most successful methods of delivering the care residents deserve.
"In a lot of ways it looks at the flow of the staff interaction with the residents. So it really looks at what is the most efficient type of layout for a facility that really looks to maximize the time that the staff are spending with the residents. As well as in the design and the layout, it really speaks to not just looking at it in terms of the event of building a facility, but we also have to keep in mind the operations of a facility over a number of decades."
"The Lean P3 work to this point has only been used for the development of the Children's Hospital in Saskatoon, as well as the Moose Jaw replacement hospital. So this, in Saskatchewan, is the first long-term care facility that we've used Lean P3 design. And I think as we move forward with further capital development in the health sector, we'll continue to use Lean Development. And we're starting to get some interest from other provinces and other jurisdictions looking at what we're doing here in Saskatchewan."
He too was appreciative of the efforts of staff in this process.
"So very few people get invited in to help re-design their workplace. And even fewer than that get asked to design from the ground-up any work place. And so for all of you to be a part of this, I hope you have found this to be a worthwhile endeavour that not only will help not only be a great place for you to work, but most importantly a great place for our residents to live, and to have a home," Duncan commented.
Duncan noted that he overheard that some of the lessons staff learned through this design process are being developed into ideas that can be implemented in the existing long-term facilities.
"For me, in terms as my role as Minister of Health, one of the most gratifying things to hear in the report out today is that staff were making comments that 'you know we can really change some of the ways that we do work, and that we interact with the residents, even in the existing facilities and not really wait until we move into the new facility.' And so I think that we'll be very interested to look at how we can change the flow of the residents in perhaps other long-term care facilities that we're dealing with now."
"We have an aging long-term care infrastructure in Saskatchewan. Much of it is based around the old concept of more of an institutional feel, that really doesn't have the same type of elements that you'll see in a new facility. So if there's any learnings that we can find from the staff that have been a part of this process, where they think they may be able to implement some of their ideas even sooner than a new building would require, you know that to me is something that we'd be very interested in."
Vachon said this design process was important, as you can put ideas down on paper but having the opportunity to create a mock room was informative.
"Until you have the opportunity to actually see a room and move around in it, and try to function in it the way that you're intending to, it makes all the difference and you start to actually be able to visualize what this is going to look like. I think that's the most exciting part of all of this," Vachon said. "I think often when people do a build, and then realize that something doesn't work after they've done it. And this gives us a chance to spend the next three years testing things, trialing things, making sure we've got things in the right place, and that this building is going to function the way that we intend it to."
She admitted that the Health Region has learned from their experience in building the Cypress Regional Hospital, plus they also had some hands on design work before beginning the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility in Maple Creek. One of the specific aspects in the long-term care design was to address the issue of walking distances in the facility.
"So for our long-term care residents, and it's different from hospitals, but we know that people often become dependent on wheelchairs when they move into a long-term care facility, just because they don't have the strength or the mobility to make the long distances to get to the dining room or to the tub room. So we were really thoughtful about how do we create an environment that allows people to maintain as much independence as possible for as long as they possibly can. And that was so important to us to not create that dependency on wheelchairs because it's convenient for staff and we can move people quicker."
In order to reduce wheelchair dependance, the long-term facility features 10 bed houses and centralized kitchen units, but there are also specialized designs for both short-term care and palliative care areas.
"We had a good sense of what we wanted our 10 bed houses to look like, but we knew we needed a specialized unit for people who come to us for short-term space. So that would be people who are receiving respite care or program beds."
And while the short-term care portion is designed to allow for more intensive rehabilitation and supports with intent of individuals returning home, Vachon was touched by the detail incorporated in palliative care areas.
"Our staff were extremely thoughtful in what that needed to look like. And I think that's probably one of the most pleasant surprises is what that ended up looking like at the end of the week. It's an amazing design."
Vachon noted a Request for Qualifications was issued this past week, searching for groups, consortiums or proponents to give their qualifications, with the Health Region determining whether or not they suit what they are trying to do. She anticipates short listing a group of candidate groups, and in October they will issue a Request for Proposal. The Health Region expect to be working with those short listed groups over the winter months to come up with some designs in order to chose the best design before going forward with their chosen team in the spring. They remain on target for a spring 2014 ground breaking for the project.