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Transitional beds added in Brechin

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

An innovative resource designed to lessen overall strain on the health-care system is expanding in Brechin.

Orillia-based Helping Hands has added another three beds to its six-bed transitional program in Brechin thanks to funding by the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network.

Terri Soukup, director of client services with Helping Hands, said the program has proven to be successful since being launched as a pilot project in January 2016.

“We are quite excited about it,” Soukup said, noting the service lessened the need for longer hospital stays for some area residents as they make the transition back to their homes.

Delivered in collaboration with Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, the program uses a newer facility designed, built and provided by Jack Steenhof and Fayne Bullen.

“It’s has had a significant impact on alternative-level-of-care rates at the hospital,” she said.

Since its inception in Brechin, 48 people have stayed at the facility, which provides private rooms in a home-like setting designed to provide an interim, safe and inviting environment for clients who are recovering or transitioning to more permanent living arrangements.

“Our target was 28, and we surpassed that,” Soukup said, noting clients have arrived at the facility to stay after being discharged from every hospital in the region, including the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene.

Clients, who are eligible to receive therapy and nursing services through the North Simcoe Muskoka Community Care Access Centre, also benefit by receiving their care on site.

This most recent expansion brings the total number of transitional beds available in the region to 15, which Soukup said represents a considerable resource for the health-care system and family caregivers.

Besides the nine beds in Brechin, Helping Hands operates six beds in its catchment area, with two beds at a Coldwater seniors’ facility and four divided between two Orillia seniors’ homes (Hillcrest Lodge and Barrie Road).

Soukup said they would like to add more transitional beds in the future, but would look at other locations since the Brechin facility is now at capacity.

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