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Delta View residents may be headed for Langley facility slated to be decommissioned
Residents at Delta View Habilitation Centre might soon be moving to Highland Lodge in Langley, despite the fact Fraser Health plans to have it decommissioned.
"My understanding is they are considering it," says BC NDP Seniors' Critic Katrine Conroy, adding Fraser Health would lease it back from Pinnacle Care Group and renovate.
Don Sutherland, a former teacher at Richardson and Jarvis primary schools, is at Delta View. Diagnosed with dementia in 1999, his wife Bonnie took care of him at home until 2008, when she placed him in residence at Northcrest in North Delta.
After some frustrating experiences there, Bonnie was fearful he would be moved to Riverview in Coquitlam. It was a great relief to get him into Delta View.
"There isn't another facility that handles this level of challenging patient at as cost-effective a price," she said.
Concerned about where her husband might wind up, she visited Highland Lodge, which currently operates a 60-bed facility.
She sat for 30 minutes watching a group of seniors and nobody came to check on them.
"If someone was in crisis you couldn't find someone for love or money," she said.
Fraser Health had been funding Delta View at $318 per bed per day, but recently lowered that to $286 per bed per day, leaving them operating at below cost. Administrators said they had no choice but to cancel their contract with Fraser Health.
Aly Devji, assistant administrator at Delta View said no reasonable offer was made and they are finishing the contract with Fraser Health at a financial loss.
"We had offered to pull our notice off the table if they had increased the budget to a fair number."
Now Fraser Health plans to move 71 tertiary acute care and nine residential patients by March of 2013. Some people believe Highland Lodge will be the destination.
"I've heard the rumours, as everyone else has, but I cannot confirm nor deny it," says Devji.
But Devji added Fraser Health has publicly stated one of the facilities being considered was decommissioned and would need to be renovated before it's used again.
A new purpose-built facility is being planned by Fraser Health, which tried to negotiate with Delta View to extend their 365-day notice to three years. Those negotiations fell through.
Dan Kipper, Fraser Health's director of Mental Health and Substance Use, says there are two interim facilities being examined, but wouldn't say where.
"Certainly, families have been concerned around the change in the location, and rightly so. We certainly understand that and want to work with them to reassure them that the program that we do develop at the interim site will be of a very high standard and the quality of care will be very similar to what's being offered at Delta View now."
But Devji says Delta View was purpose-built for patients with dementia and run with a philosophy known as "hugs not drugs."
"I would say for any facility to replicate what has been done in the Habilitation Centre, it would be a very challenging task," he said.
The NDP's Conroy doesn't think it makes sense to spend millions to renovate a building that's being decommissioned for what's essentially a temporary solution.
"These are fragile seniors," she says. "It's very difficult for people in that condition to be moved."
Mission resident Wendy Wenberg, whose husband Keith is at Delta View, is exasperated by the whole ordeal.
"These residents get hugs and kisses from the care aides," she says. "They talk to them. They're just so caring there. Why upset that?"