P.E.I. couple buys four community care facilities and prevents North Rustico's from shutting down

·2 min read

Four P.E.I. community care facilities now have new ownership, including one in North Rustico that was recently under probation and facing a shutdown.

Stephen and Dawn Piccott, who are originally from P.E.I. and have been living in Ontario for the past decade, said they believe they were sent back home to take on this new venture.

They started buying P.E.I. facilities last year – all of which mostly focus on long-term care service.

"(It's) been very heartwarming for sure to be able to take care of our seniors," Dawn said.

The four they now own are Emerson Lodge, Charlottetown, Bayview Lodge and Woodland Home, Souris, and Villa Marguerite Seniors Home, North Rustico. The sale for Villa Marguerite went through on April 30.

"That gives us a total of 87 community care rooms," Stephen said. "And we're really, really, really excited about that."

The Piccott's sold their Ontario car dealership to start fresh on P.E.I. with their family. When they first got married, they lived in North Rustico, where they knew and looked up to Villa Marguerite's former owners, Robert and Elizabeth Gaudet.

P.E.I.'s Community Care Facilities and Nursing Homes Board had reported 63 areas of concern at Villa Marguerite late last year, largely pertaining to insufficient documentation and staff training.

"We were aware of what was going on out there, and it was unfortunate," Stephen said.

The Piccotts have been in the talks to take over since earlier this year, and all of the concerns have since been resolved. There are also plans in place for renovations and some TLC.

"It's a beautiful old building," Stephen said. "Over the next four to six weeks, we're really going to put that place on the map the way it was."

The board renewed Villa Marguerite's provisional license until July 31. The couple's self-developed model called PiccottCare – which will standardize all their facilities to ensure the province's policies are being adhered to at each one – was a selling point for the board, Stephen said.

As well, the Piccotts are ensuring their facilities are properly staffed and looked after by increasing staff wages.

"If you're going to be paying somebody minimum wage, you're going to get minimum wage," he said.

The Guardian attempted to contact the Gaudets for comment and for more insight as to why Villa Marguerite started seeing issues but did not hear back by print deadline. The transfer of ownership was good timing as it allows the Gaudets to retire, Stephen said.

As for the Piccotts, they're open to buying more P.E.I. care facilities but will be focusing on the ones they own for now.

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Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian