New 224-bed non-profit home will address region’s long-term care needs while creating research and learning opportunities for students
Trent University and peopleCare Communities are collaborating to improve the lives of local seniors, advance research on aging, and enhance student learning through the creation of a new non-profit long-term care (LTC) home located on the University’s Symons Campus.
Dave Smith, MPP Peterborough-Kawartha, announced today that peopleCare Communities was awarded the necessary licenses to build a new 224-bed LTC home at Trent through the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The new home will be built and operated by peopleCare on land leased from the University. In a groundbreaking agreement, the University and peopleCare have committed to collaborate on programming, experiential learning and research that will benefit seniors, and the long-term care sector for years to come.
“peopleCare is thrilled to have this opportunity to build and operate a world-class long-term care Centre of Excellence in beautiful Peterborough, and we sincerely thank the government for their ongoing investments to modernize care and services for seniors in this province,” says Brent Gingerich, chairman and CEO of peopleCare. “We are also pleased to work with another leading and innovative organization like Trent University to bring teaching, research, clinical best practices and intergenerational connections to life through this exciting collaboration.”
“Trent is committed to the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities in which we reside. This new agreement with peopleCare Communities will continue this tradition,” says Dr. Leo Groarke, president and vice-chancellor of Trent University. “Through this groundbreaking intergenerational project, we will co-design a long-term care home that will improve the lives of local seniors at the same time that it advances student life and learning. This is an exciting initiative which will build on Trent’s reputation as a globally-recognized, age-friendly university – and help address the region’s need for long-term care beds, career experiences for students and leading research in gerontology.”
Advancing learning and research
Complementary to the construction of the long-term care home, peopleCare and Trent will work together to spearhead research into promising practices in aging, conducting research and piloting initiatives with the intent to spread and scale innovation throughout the LTC sector and the broader health system.
A fundamental part of the arrangement between Trent and peopleCare is to provide experiential hands-on and simulated clinical learning for nursing students, as well as those in social work, kinesiology and a broad range of programs across the University. A strategic goal of this collaboration is to interest students in geriatric care, a sector challenged to attract young healthcare leaders.
"At a time when it is needed most, the new University-integrated seniors’ village positions Trent at the forefront of community engaged research and teaching on aging and long-term care in Canada,” says Dr. Mark Skinner, Canada research chair (CRC) in rural aging, health, and social care, founding director of the Trent Centre for Aging and Society and dean of Social Sciences and Humanities at Trent University. “This initiative confirms Trent's longstanding commitment to providing students the opportunity for inspiring and impactful experiential learning that will make a difference in the lives of the people who need it most. Led by the Trent Centre for Aging & Society, Trent/Fleming School of Nursing and programs across the arts and sciences, a new research and teaching partnership in promising practices for long-term care is already underway. In really exciting ways, this initiative provides the foundation for furthering Trent's contribution to the region's incredible response to the opportunities and challenges of population aging.”
As the third oldest community in Canada, with almost 2,500 people waiting two to four years for a LTC bed, Peterborough is the ideal location for a new LTC home.
“We look forward to designing a LTC home, with Trent University and our new community partners, that enables seniors to live and age well, and more independently – receiving a range of care, services and community-based health and social supports, all in one place,” says Megan Allen-Lamb, president of peopleCare. “This integrated, vibrant and sustainable solution promotes social relationships and inclusion, and healthy aging, which is incredibly valuable to today’s seniors and their families as their needs change over time.”
With COVID-19 highlighting Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) considerations for all operators, the new LTC home will be designed with IPAC innovation top of mind. This includes design that focuses on extra space to enable adequate physical distancing in common areas and resident rooms, and self-sustaining resident home areas, and exploring the latest in engineered infection prevention (EIP) technologies, which mitigate the risk of air, water and surface transmission of disease in healthcare settings through materials, sensors and automation to continuously or frequently disinfect the physical environment.
Taking into consideration a number of variables in the pre-construction phase around planning and approvals at the municipal and provincial level, peopleCare is fully committed to open these LTC beds as soon as possible to meet the needs of seniors in the Peterborough community. Timeline for constructing and opening a 224-bed LTC home is approximately 18 months from getting a shovel in the ground to welcoming the first residents.
First step toward realizing vision of a University-integrated seniors’ village
The project marks the first step for Trent in realizing a vision for a University-integrated seniors’ village within a continuum of care, offering housing options that support seniors to age-in-place in an intergenerational and intellectually stimulating environment.
“This exciting new initiative with peopleCare Communities brings to life a vision set out in the Trent Lands and Nature Areas Plan,” says Julie Davis, vice president of External Relations and Advancement at Trent. “This project advances learning and discovery, a key guiding principle in the Trent Lands & Nature Areas Plan, while meeting a real community need. The LTC home reflects the needs and aspirations of the Peterborough community, while also providing hands-on learning opportunities on campus for Trent students and advancing vital research into aging.”
The location for the LTC home, as the anchor of the University-integrated seniors’ village, is at the north-west corner of Water Street and Woodland Drive and is on municipal transit routes. While the goal is to bring the campus to the village by way of student placements and housing, the location allows easy access to the campus for learning, gathering and recreation. Opportunities for meaningful public engagement to shape the LTC site and the broader village include the building and space design, gardens, functional learning spaces and community use areas. Guided by the vision and guidelines in the Trent Lands & Nature Areas Plan, Trent will work with peopleCare Communities to ensure an energy-efficient facility that also respects the setting and integrates the natural environment.
A community engagement process for the new LTC home, led by peopleCare Communities with Trent University, will begin this Spring. Four season environmental studies have been conducted on the site, in collaboration with the Michi Saagiig Consultation Resource Liaisons, and these reports are being prepared to inform the site design.