‘It’s like a hotel’: Residents move into Southbridge Kemptville

Residents are being welcomed home at Southbridge Kemptville. The new 160 bed long-term care facility opened its doors on Thursday, Nov. 3, when the first 45 residents moved over from Bayfield Manor.

Gerry Miller, executive director, said people have moved into three of the five Resident Home Areas (RHA) on site, with a fourth RHA scheduled to open mid-December.

“It’s a major move for residents and families, so you don’t want to rush it,” he explained. “We have dedicated admission teams who really follow the family and look after the residents for the whole day.”

Around 75 residents have moved in to date, with roughly two new admissions per day, Miller added. Southbridge features 96 private suites and 32 two-bedroom suites.

Construction of the three-storey, state-of-the-art facility took two years, beginning Nov. 2020. Miller said the now vacant long-term care section at Bayfield, which housed 50 beds, will soon be renovated to create 30 new seniors’ apartments, in addition to the current 57 retirement suites.

He noted the new facility, operated by Southbridge Care Homes, is bright and airy. He pointed out the spacious activity room, which doubles as a worship space led by the new in-house chaplain, along with the spa room and wellness lounge, where residents can get their hair cut and styled.

Each RHA also has its own lounge area, dining room and balcony, Miller explained.

“It’s really, really important for people to have access to outside.”

“The nice thing is everybody gets a window,” noted Jane Johnston, director of care.

Carol Anne Clark, whose family member just moved into Southbridge, said the new building is nice, but it’s the staff that make it such a special place.

“The staff make all the difference,” she continued. “Everyone from the screeners to the housekeepers to the laundry – PSW’s to the nurses – all of them.”

Karen Wiersma, whose parents live at Southbridge, echoed her sentiments.

“Mom’s been having a blast, she’s been here a couple of weeks,” she explained. “And it’s the first day for dad.”

Henk and Carol Wiersma were reunited after a few weeks apart on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

“They’re super thrilled to be back together again,” Wiersma said. “The plan – the hope – is to have them both in the same wing so they can have lots of meals together and all that.”

She noted that the staff set up a special table so the couple could eat lunch together.

“Everyone has been super welcoming, super friendly.”

“This is the way to go,” added Henk. “It’s like a hotel…a hotel for people who worked their whole lives.”

The new facility isn’t just good news for the residents – it’s also creating local jobs. Southbridge will have 220 employees once it’s fully occupied by February and it is currently hiring.

Miller noted that’s around 100 new positions created, from the 125 employed at Bayfield.

“The staff have all moved over and all of our part-time staff were able to get full-time positions,” he explained.

Miller said that families are welcome anytime and there’s no set visiting hours.

“This is their home.”

Southbridge is hosting a Christmas Parade of Lights at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10 and the public is welcome to attend. Southbridge is located at 121 George St. W.

Original Article By: Jennifer Westendorp

Inside Ottawa Valley

Saturday, December 3, 2022