So, IHA is going to spend $3.1 million to reopen beds at Ponderosa Lodge's third floor. That decision is not a new idea to those of us who worked there in the past. There are a lot of ex-staff members who wondered why this wasn't done before now, given the persistent crowding at RIH that has gone on for far too long.
When Ponderosa closed in June 2001, the residents, their families and the staff found this to be a traumatic event for all. The comment that Ponderosa Lodge was "never an ideal facility " angered me. May I remind those who made this statement, that this intermediate care facility was one of the best in the province. They received a three-year accreditation for excellence in resident care.
The meaning of the word "caring" was practiced every day by all who worked there. This seems to be lacking at times, according to comments from families and the public who have had to spend time at RIH lately.
Don't get me wrong, being a retired nurse I can understand the pressures that staff have to cope with on a daily basis. I was also angered when a past representative of IHA once referred to seniors as "bed blockers."
What a degrading comment to make about a segment of the population who helped build this country and this city and who, in the later years of their lives, earn a right to have a comfortable, caring environment to recuperate from acute health procedures. I am sure they will find such care at Ponderosa Lodge.
The B.C. Ministry of Health’s guide handbook tells us they are "helping you and your family stay healthy." It is obvious that that is not possible with the overcrowding at RIH where staff can't be everywhere at the same time. Let's hope this latest "idea" from IHA will give them some breathing room to do the job their facility was designed for, tending to patients in an acute care setting. Ponderosa can give them the relief they desperately need. Good luck to both sides.