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Helping Hands adding beds

Cheryl Browne

By Cheryl Browne, Barrie Examiner

Helping Hands director of client services Terri Soukup (left) and executive director Rob Soczka at their newest transitional bed site at Innisfil and Tiffin Streets in Barrie. The new 12-bed centre is expected to open in Barrie by Thanksgiving. PHOTO: CHERYL BROWNE/BARRIE EXAMINER

Helping Hands director of client services Terri Soukup (left) and executive director Rob Soczka at their newest transitional bed site at Innisfil and Tiffin Streets in Barrie. The new 12-bed centre is expected to open in Barrie by Thanksgiving. PHOTO: CHERYL BROWNE/BARRIE EXAMINER

When you’re not sick enough to stay in hospital, but can’t look after yourself at home, a transitional care facility could be the right option.

Helping Hands has been providing such services in Orillia for the past 10 years of its 45 years, offering transport, Meals on Wheels and respite care.

“We’ve received funding from the Local Health Integration Network to expand our already-successful program,” said Rob Soczka, executive director of Helping Hands.

Standing on the broken pavement in front of the fenced-in vacant property at the corners of Innisfil and Tiffin streets in Barrie, Soczka and Terri Soukup, director of client services, are excited about the Barrie site’s proximity to Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH).

“We’ve had a great deal of success and have had an impact on the alternate-level-of-care rates at Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and RVH,” Soczka said.

Orillia’s transitional bed program provides non-medical care for clients, including seniors, families who require respite care for a family member, or for those transitioning out of hospital, said Soukup.

“Clients could be taking up a hospital bed simply because they can’t retrofit their apartment for a wheelchair quickly, or need to find a new place altogether,” she said. 

Although clients are allowed to say at the Helping Hands centre for six months, the average stay is approximately 40 days, she said.

“At that time, they can either go back home, or into long-term care,” Soukup said.

Helping Hands has been operating its transitional bed program for several years and garnered appreciation by the health care system when it opened its six-bed facility in Brechin in early 2016. 

That Clint House model alleviated pressure on hospitals and provided such versatile accommodation, the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network approved the funding for another centre in Barrie.

The new facility will hold a dozen beds and will be built using modular-home-style units that will be manufactured and shipped from New Brunswick.

“This particular project is ideal for a modular build because it’s faster and we can incorporate the lessons learned in Orillia,” Soczka said. 

The Tiffin and Innisfil streets centre will be Accessible for Ontarians with Disabilities compliant, as well as large enough to accommodate 250-plus bariatric patients, he said.

CBrowne@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/cherylbrowne1

 



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