Offering love, peace, compassion, hope, and empowerment …
Park Manor Care is a personal care home serving 100 residents in the Transcona neighborhood of Winnipeg, Canada, a community of about 40,000 people located several miles east of the downtown area. Julia Dreger, Park Manor’s Director of Development, recounts how the home
was founded: “Park Manor Personal Care Home was built on a request from the City of Transcona to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manitoba. The people of Transcona at that time were looking to secure a faith-based healthcare facility for their community and Seventh-day Adventists are very well-known, world-wide, for their healthcare. Transcona leaders wanted residents here to have the opportunity to receive compassionate care when needed while staying connected to the community and their loved ones.”
So, in 1967, Park Manor was constructed by The Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; It has been providing quality and compassionate care for the Transcona community for the past 48 years. It is still operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but it also works in cooperation with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and Manitoba Health. Services include nursing care, quality meals, therapeutic recreation, and palliative care to its residents, whose current average age is 85 years old.
Since the average stay of a Park Manor resident is 3.5 years and getting shorter every year, end-of-life care is a key component of the home’s services. Dreger straightforwardly articulates the stark reality of working with an aged and infirm population, while also encapsulating Park Manor Care’s mission and the objective of its 170 full-time, part-time, and casual staff, as well as its many volunteers, which includes over 140 individuals involved in various activities. Management and staff work hard to create a safe and comfortable environment for residents; “Our goal is to provide the most compassionate, loving care to seniors at the end of life.”
Park Manor Care operates in harmony with the philosophy and goals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which advocates that physical, mental, social, and spiritual factors must be dealt with simultaneously. Thus, in addition to its medical services, the home also provides spiritual care, counseling, and hosts weekly services from many area churches. The amenities it offers to its residents include a hair salon, podiatry care, occupational and speech therapy, and regular visits from other health care professionals. Park Manor also provides education sessions for the family members of its residents so they can learn how to better care for their loved ones.
Park Manor Care is funded through the WRHA, and, as such, its clients are assessed for long-term care admission by WRHA Access centers. While potential long-term care residents can choose any home, once admitted, according to Social Services Director Julie Perry, Park Manor is often their first choice. “We get chosen because of our excellent reputation for care,” she says. Unfortunately, that often means that there is a waiting list between six months and a year, depending on the availability of a vacant bed.
That situation makes it particularly stressful for the Park Manor Care staff because Transcona is a close-knit, family-oriented community, and many of the staff members have grown up with, or personally know the residents they care for, as well as the ones that must wait to get in. “It’s difficult when we know these people personally and have to share with them that they could be waiting six months,” laments Dreger. “It’s hard because we know that person that we would love to have here, caring for them, may not live long enough to actually enjoy the benefits of being here.”
Fortunately, for Park Manor Care – and for Transcona’s growing senior population – that admitting logjam may be on its way to being solved. After a decade of planning, proposing, and lobbying by Park Manor’s administration, it was recently announced that a new, modern long-term care facility for 120 additional residents is going to be built on a vacant lot on the Park Manor Care campus. Dreger, in particular, has been working for years to get to this day. “We did have to lobby and stay on the radar to make sure that when the time came, we would be ready,” she says. Construction of the five-story structure is slated to begin soon and should open in 2018. Park Manor is already actively fundraising for a portion of the construction cost, led by Dreger and with the assistance of a local community Campaign Cabinet.
Plans for the new facility include it being connected by a concourse to Park Manor’s current care home as well as to its adjacent seniors residence, East Park Lodge. The expanded campus will ultimately serve a total of 220 care home residents, along with the 70+ independent seniors in the Lodge. In furthering its mission to improve the lives of its residents through multi-age programming and community relationships, Park Manor Care is also hoping to partner with a local daycare provider to later accommodate fifty pre-school and infant care spaces in the home.
As Park Manor Care looks back on it first half century of providing compassionate, end-of-life healthcare to Transcona’s elders, it is simultaneously looking forward with great anticipation to the opening of its new building and the next fifty years. At the same time, according to CEO, Collin Akre, Transcona’s only long-term care facility will strive to continue its stringent adherence to the same high standards that have caused it to be recognized by the WRHA for its quality of its care. “We want to maintain our accreditation and meet those standards that we’re required to meet in terms of quality, safety, efficiency, and so on, while making sure that we operate in a responsible manner using the funds efficiently and effectively to deliver quality and compassionate care. One of the biggest things for us is that we all go the extra mile in terms of making our home feel like a home, feel like a community, for all our residents.”
No doubt Park Manor Care will continue to fulfill its mission in the future as devotedly as it has in the past: “Offering love, peace, compassion, hope, and empowerment… to care as Christ does.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Park Manor Personal Care Home
WHAT: A personal care home serving 100 elderly residents
WHERE: The Transcona neighborhood of Winnipeg, Canada