New year brings big changes for Water Tower Lodge

Second floor transforming into nursing care unit

Staff Reporter

Second floor transforming into nursing care unit

Staff Reporter

BARRY’S BAY – The Water Tower Lodge in Barry’s Bay is undergoing renovations in preparation of a new nursing care unit on the second floor.

Opened in 2002, the Lodge is nearing its 10th anniversary in the community. To date, the building accommodates 40 residents, with room for five more. It provides independent living, assisted living and respite care.

“For now,” Administrator Marcie Campbell explained.

She added that there are some residents that have been at the Lodge since it first opened.

“Unfortunately our services haven’t changed to meet their growing needs. Although we have tried to adapt, we haven’t actually developed any programs that meet their needs,” she added. “By being able to offer more care services here, it gives them the option to stay.”

In the fall, the WTL sent out a survey to community healthcare professionals and to the families and residents at the Lodge. Its main purpose was to evaluate the existing services, to find out what was working, and what changed needed to be made. Of the 100 surveys sent out, 84 per cent were filled out and returned.

“When we got all of the results back, it gave us a lot of insight into things that we were already aware of,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately the [Alternate Level of Care] beds over at the hospital don’t exist and residents are staying home longer and they are not able to access the level of care that they need. Our decision was that we would take those services that those residents need in order to be able to maintain their independence or quality of life…and offer those services here.”

A plan was developed and is being implemented in stages at the Lodge. To date, renovations to the second floor of the building are already underway.

“What we have decided to do is we are going to make more of a nursing care unit on our second floor that will provide care services to residents so that they can stay here rather than having to look for more care services outside of the community that aren’t really available to them,” she said. “A lot of people see this as an alternative to having to send their loved one to a long-term care facility because they will be able to stay here.

There will be less changes and less confusion for them. I definitely see that as being a good thing.”

This means the Lodge will include 24-hour nursing care, physiotherapy services, daily support for personal living and care planning. Residents that will benefit from the second floor services include those with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive disorders.

“There are renovations being done to the second floor in order to make it accessible, so a fully-accessible washroom, lifts, some care items for residents as far as accessibility goes; we are putting in a second nursing station on the second floor that will be dedicated to that. As well, our second floor is going to be locked-down, so people who have Alzheimer’s and dementia won’t be at risk of wandering,” she said.

This story continues in this week’s issue of The Valley Gazette.