Rainycrest proposing new unit for special needs

Rainycrest residents may be segregated to provide more specialized care within the next two years, with public input being sought when the board presents its proposal in Kenora later this month.
As part of the proposal process, the board will hold a public session for all municipalities of Rainy River District on the afternoon of Oct. 28 at the Travelodge.
The proposal calls for a separate wing to provide services for “psychogeriatric” or “cognitively-impaired” residents at Rainycrest–an idea administrator Kevin Queen said would provide both a special service and help alleviate reduced funding from the ministry after it lost 33 beds to the Emo and Rainy River hospitals earlier this year.
“Right now, Rainycrest offers an integrated system, meaning some of the more confused residents are side-by-side with those who merely need help taking care of themselves,” he explained.
“But we’ve found an integrated system doesn’t work. If a person’s confused, they may be bothersome to other residents or be adverse to an orderly,” Queen added.
“If the proposal goes through, we can provide a secure environment and have staff dedicated to these particular residents,” he noted. “It’s a win-win situation, with better programming for both groups.”
The new unit also would mean staffing at Rainycrest could stay about the same in the wake of the loss of beds to other facilities in the district, Queen said.
While Rainycrest would not be getting new beds with the special unit, a separate wing would have to be added according to ministry guidelines. “It will be a contained, specially-designed area,” Queen noted.
“We asked the ministry what we could do to replace the 33 beds and they said, ‘We can’t promise you those beds back but we can tell you to apply to the proposal process,’” he recalled.
The board spent July drawing up the proposal.
Following the public meeting Oct. 28, the proposal may be changed accordingly and then submitted to the Ministry of Health. If it is approved, the Rainycrest board will have 19 months to develop the special unit, assign and train staff, and build the extension.
“Hopefully, we can get right on going with it,” said Queen.
The only two centres in Northwestern Ontario now equipped to house the cognitively-impaired are Kenora and Thunder Bay.