Submitted by: Cathy Hickey, MD, MMEd, FRCPC, ABPN
Staff Psychiatrist, Geriatric Psychiatry Day Hospital
Dr. L.A. Miller Centre, St. John’s, NLThere have been many new developments since our last newsletter contribution in the spring of 2014. On a community level, a new $150 million long-term care facility was completed in St. John’s and opened in September of 2014. The new 460 bed facility contains protective care units for individuals with dementia, enhanced short stay services such as respite and convalescence care; and, specialized behavioral services for seniors. Each resident has a private room. This modern facility has been well received by families and patients alike. Our team looks forward to developing a collaborative relationship with the nurses, doctors and staff who work there.
On a provincial level, government recently announced an initiative to create an additional 360 long-term care beds in the province: 120 each in the western, central and eastern regions. The decision has been met with some controversy. Many are pleased with the announcement as long-term care beds are urgently needed for our growing population of seniors. However, the decision to use private and not-for profit funding has been met with some resistance by the community at large.
The provincial government also announced plans to postpone the development of a new Waterford Hospital site. The current Waterford Hospital has been a tertiary care mental health facility for over 150 years. Funding to begin replacement of the Waterford Hospital was originally announced by the Provincial Government in 2011, and planning for a new facility began in earnest in 2014. These planning meetings had strong attendance from staff, physicians, community organizations and patient and family representatives. A request to proceed with the design and eventual construction of the new hospital was submitted to the Provincial Government early in 2015. Because of recent budgetary constraints, the government decided to put the plans for a replacement on hold.
And finally, our team continues to evolve. Both Drs. Isabel Martins and Christine Caravan retired in December/14. While we were sad to see them leave, we were delighted to welcome Dr. Anne Porter to our team as an inpatient psychiatrist on our geriatric unit at the Waterford Hospital. We are hoping to fill Dr. Martins’ position in the near future.
And finally, two residents were recipients of the inaugural “Dr. Howard Strong Memorial Award” at our Psychiatry Resident Research Day on June, 2014. Drs. Robert Mercer and Tim Hierlihy both demonstrated outstanding compassion, skill and empathy during their rotations with us. We were honored to select two residents who embodied the traits which made Dr. Strong such a special consultant, mentor and colleague.