Group home opens
Long-term care soon to be elders only

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Apr 09/99) - Five former Charlotte Vehus Centre residents have now moved into the new group home near the corner of Stringer Road and Breynat Street.

The spacious facility has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a spacious kitchen and generally a more home-like feel than the Charlotte Vehus Centre, which staff say felt a lot more like an institution.

"At the Charlotte Vehus Centre, it didn't even look like a house. It felt like a facility," says new group home staff person Paulette Caissie.

"Also, the space was too big. It was bigger than we needed."

The Charlotte Vehus Centre is having its floor stripped and is otherwise being cleaned and prepared for five younger mentally and physically-challenged residents who have been living in the Inuvik Regional Hospital's long-term care unit -- a unit that will become exclusively for elders.

At first, the residents will stay for only a few days at a time to ease the transition, but slowly the stays will lengthen and by the end of the month, they will likely be there permanently.

The group home is for mentally-challenged residents while the Charlotte Vehus Centre will be for more severely mentally and physically-challenged young adults.

"It's to open up our long-term care beds," says Judy Ladouceur, manager of continuing care and independent living at the Inuvik Regional Hospital.

"Also, it's a more appropriate placement. You don't have a bunch of elderly, disoriented people with young people. It's just to make sure it's more age-appropriate and it's more appropriate for care."

Charlotte Vehus also has respite beds to accommodate children who are cared for in private homes but whose care-givers may periodically want a break and go out on the land for a month or so, for example.

It is also better equipped than the group home in some ways, such as having nurse call-buttons in rooms.

The move creates 10 new jobs including five for professional staff and five casual workers, according to Dianna Bennett who is the manager of adult day programs with Parkland Community Living, which is contracted by the Department of Health and Social Services.