July 6, 2009
REXTON (CNB) - Construction of a $9.2-million nursing home and a $4.5-million community health centre is underway in Rexton. Premier Shawn Graham, Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty, and Rexton Mayor David Hanson participated in a sod-turning for the multimillion-dollar project today.
"Under our strategy, Be Independent. Longer, our government made a commitment to improve the long-term-care system," said Graham. "Improvements to our nursing-home infrastructure help to ensure that our most fragile seniors receive the quality care they need in modern, secure facilities."
Graham said that the new community health centre, one of six being established as part of the Provincial Health Plan 2008-2012, will strive to promote wellness in the community, while also improving access to primary health-care services for all residents.
"A stronger, healthier population will reduce demands on health care and on the long-term-care system," said Graham. "It is part of our goal for self-sufficiency and for making New Brunswick the place to be at any age."
Located on a 5.6-hectare (14-acre) scenic property, the 30-bed nursing home will be 2,508 square metres (27,000 sq. ft.) in size, and will offer improved accessibility, better equipment and more space for residents, families and staff. Eighty per cent of the bedrooms will be single, private rooms, and all rooms will have private washrooms. Bathing facilities will be modern and fully equipped for the safety of residents. Ceiling lifts will be available in all rooms, for the safety of both residents and staff.
The nursing home will also offer an activity lounge, a general lounge, a spacious dining room overlooking the village's rural surroundings, modern kitchen facilities, and two interior courtyards to provide security for residents while allowing access to the outdoors.
The architect for the project is Boyd R. Algee Architect Ltd. of Moncton. Foulem Construction of Caraquet has been awarded the contract to build the facility. Construction will be complete in 2010.
A corridor will link the nursing home to the health centre. Both buildings will be under construction at the same time.
The community health centre will be a single-storey building comprised of about 985 square metres (10,600 sq. ft.). It will provide space for primary-care practitioners, including physicians and nurses who will work together to improve the delivery of enhanced, primary health-care services in the community.
"For many years, health-care providers in Rexton have been working from two separate buildings, while serving 35,000 patients annually," said Health Minister Mary Schryer. "The new community health centre will combine their services in one new, modern facility for improved efficiency and more enhanced space to serve patients."
Primary health-care services already available include specimen collection, dressing changes, wound management injections, immunizations, limited chronic disease management, patient education and minor procedures. These services will continue, while wellness and disease prevention will become an important part of the centre's mandate in patient services.
The centre will be a green building designed to achieve a silver rating under the principles of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is an industry standard used to measure green-building performance. The project has been registered with the Canada Green Building Council.
Retail Construction Specialists Inc. of Bedford, Nova Scotia, has been awarded the contract to build the centre, with completion scheduled in 2010. Both the nursing home and the centre will replace older, existing facilities in Rexton.
"In 20 years, our senior population will almost double," said Minister of State for Seniors Brian Kenny. "By improving our infrastructure and putting services in place to help New Brunswickers be healthy, we are paving the way for a stronger province and a sustainable long-term-care system."
Since 2007, the province has invested $167 million in nursing-home infrastructure in New Brunswick. In 2009-10, the budget for nursing-home services will surpass $220 million. There are about 4,000 seniors living in 62 nursing homes in the province.
In 2009-10, the ordinary account budget for the Department of Health will reach $2.3 billion, representing a $65-million increase over last year.
MEDIA CONTACT: Judy Cole, communications, Seniors Services, 506-444-3522; Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.