St. Mary's providing overflow space for Timmins hospital

·3 min read

St. Mary's Gardens retirement centre on Pine Street North will be used to accommodate certain patients from the Timmins & District Hospital starting this month.

The provisions for this have been in place for some time.

“As was announced during the first wave of COVID-19, the Timmins and District Hospital has partnered with St. Mary’s Gardens to create an off-site hospital location to house Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients awaiting long-term care,” said Kaileigh Russell, the hospital's communications specialist.

“This process was delayed as a result of the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, and looks to resume in February.

“This off-site location will create additional capacity within the Timmins and District Hospital, while ensuring ALC patients are receiving care in the most appropriate environment.”

While this may raise an eyebrow for some, there is no cause for concern according to representative from the seniors facility, which was retrofitted from the former St. Mary's Hospital.

“St. Mary’s would add that the TADH space will have a separate entrance,” explained Dawna Carrier, community relations and sales coordinator with St. Mary's Gardens, run by parent company Autumnwood.

“St. Mary’s Gardens residents and tenants will have no access to the TADH space. Care provided to these patients would be provided by TADH. TADH patients would not attend, or have access to, common areas or activities at St. Mary’s Gardens.”

For residents living at retirement and long-term care homes across the province, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging and stressful time. The current State of Emergency and stay-at-home orders issued by Ontario Premier Doug Ford will remain in place until at least Feb. 9, when an update is expected.

St. Mary's Gardens residents have been asked to only leave the facility for the absolute essentials.

“Premier Doug Ford has issued a stay-at-home order,” said Carrier. “Retirement residence tenants and residents, including those at St. Mary’s Gardens, are not excluded from the provincial stay-at-home order.

“We are reminding the tenants and residents of St. Mary’s Gardens that for their safety, and the safety of others who live in the residence, they are to leave only for essentials such as groceries, medical appointments, accessing health care needs and exercise until the State of Emergency is lifted.”

Visitations to the facility have also been restricted under the current provincial orders.

“Residents and tenants have been informed that visitation is not allowed, here or off the property,” said Carrier. “Residents are permitted to have one designated caregiver (friend/family member) who can come into the residence to provide for their needs. All designated caregivers are screened and must provide proof of a negative COVID test result within a two-week period. General visitation is not allowed as per provincial stay-at-home orders.

“Any and all rules and restriction that are enacted in the home come directly from the government of Ontario, via appropriate agencies such as the Retirement Homes Regulatory Association. We will follows the laws and restrictions put in place by the Ontario Government.”

Andrew Autio is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter for The Daily Press. The LJI program is funded by the federal government.

Andrew Autio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Press