Changes coming to long-term care home
There was a great deal to celebrate on March 13 with news that funding for an expansion of the Dundas Manor Long-Term Care Home is going ahead. Here, Long-Term Care Minister Dr. Merilee Fullerton along with Winchester District Memorial Hospital CEO Cholly Boland sing “YMCA,” specially repurposed with lyrics about Dundas Manor. The song was first sung at the manor’s 40th anniversary. Morin photo

The announcement on March 13 involved all levels of government. Pictured here are: Dundas Manor board chair Bill Smirle, North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser, MPP Jim McDonell, the Honourable Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Dundas Manor resident Joan Dunlop, Dundas Manor administrator Susan Poirier, Pastor Debbie Poirier and WDMH CEO Cholly Bolland. Morin photo

WINCHESTER – The Dundas Manor Long-Term Care Home has finally heard the news everyone has been waiting for.

The Minister of Long-Term Care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, arrived in North Dundas Fri., Mar. 13 and announced that funding was now available to add 30 new long-term care beds and redevelop the 98 existing beds at the facility.

The announcement was held in North Dundas council chambers rather than at Dundas Manor, as a precaution due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dundas Manor board chair Bill Smirle served as the master of ceremonies for the announcement, saying: “We have the most kind, considerate, thoughtful, generous people in Ontario.”

He pointed out that residents in Dundas Manor come from all over the region. “Eighty per cent of the residents come from North and South Dundas, the reminder are from North Stormont, North Grenville, Russell and Ottawa,” he said.

Smirle noted that the manor, which was built in the 1970s, had 60 beds and has been expanded three times.

Dundas Manor resident Joan Dunlop had something to say as well.

“I speak on behalf of the residents of Dundas Manor who love this home and the people who live and work here. We have made the very best of an outdated physical structure, but we are very happy about today’s announcement. This will provide each resident with a better living environment, so we sincerely thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” she said.

The $32-million renovation project will need a fundraising component to add to the already pledged dollars from government and municipalities. The Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH) will be acting as the fundraising arm of the project in the community; the amount needed from the community is an estimated $11 million.

Construction is expected to begin in late 2021. “We are very much looking forward to working with the community and the Dundas Manor team to raise the funds needed to make this long-awaited dream a reality,” noted Kristen Casselman, managing director of the WDMH Foundation.

“We know a new building will be expensive but we also know that we can raise our share of the dollars,” said Smirle.

Cholly Boland, the CEO of the WDMH, praised all those who have been advocating for a new Dundas Manor.

He said, “On behalf of the residents who call Dundas Manor home, and the staff, physicians, and volunteers who care for them, thank you to the ministry for this long-awaited announcement.”

Boland added, “I also want to thank Rural Healthcare Integration (RHI) board chair Bill Smirle and the entire Dundas Manor board for their tireless efforts in planning and advocating for this much-needed new home.”

Minister Fullerton applauded the Dundas community for being able to get things done in their community.

She said over the past 30 years she has had many opportunities to visit long-term care homes. “We have an aging population and long wait times. We have made it our mission as a dedicated ministry of long-term care to put residents front and center.”

She said the manor is not a place where people just go to stay but rather go to live.

In speaking of long-term care homes, she mentioned how her family, like many others, has had to deal with caring for an aging family member.

“We are all touched by long-term care,” she said.

In closing Smirle declared, “Bring on the bulldozers. This has been a long process and there is still much to do, but today we will celebrate.”

The preliminary plans for the renovated Dundas Manor have been completed; there will be more accessible space, wider halls and larger windows.

The current four-bed rooms will change to two residents per room.