Seniors suffering from dementia on Vancouver Island will soon have access to an innovative new healthcare facility that aims to improve patients’ quality of life.
The project will be located in Comox Valley near St. Joseph’s General Hospital, and will take a freedom- and relationship-based approach to healthcare.
Rather than a traditional healthcare facility, the Dementia Village will be “a smaller household model where fewer numbers of people live in a common space,” said Providence Health Care Corporate Director for Seniors Care, Jo-Ann Tait.
“They share a kitchen, a living room, and it has a front door with easy access to the outdoors.”
Inspiration for the village comes from a Dutch dementia village located in De Hogeweyk, Netherlands.
While the Dutch model has a secure outer perimeter, Providence Health Care hopes to expand on the system by adding services that encourage the external community to visit the village.
“Right now our care homes are really trying to bring the external world in, but there’s nothing really enticing,” said Tait.
The new care facility hopes to create a space where friends and family can visit patients over a coffee, and where they can pick up a gallon of milk at the same time.
The Dementia Village is just one aspect of a 17-acre master site that’s planned for St. Joseph’s. Specific plans for its construction will not be finalized until the community and other health agencies have lent their input.
“The hope is to start an engagement process with the community to understand what services go into the dementia village and what goes into an entire master site plan,” said Tait.
“One of the things we hear loud and clear is [that we need] to create caregiver programs and how we can [help] community members support their loved ones at home for as long as possible.”
“Depending on what the Ministry of Health and Vancouver Island Health Authority want to see will inform the sequencing of when things are built, and we will inform the timeline then.”
Currently, the plan is to have roughly 150 beds available for full time occupancy in the Dementia Village.
While the facility will be focused on people who are suffering from moderate to severe dementia, the 17-acre master plan site will include services “far beyond that”.
Over the next 15 years, the health care provider predicts that the number of Canadians diagnosed dementia will double.