Michener Centre closure will send fragile residents to seniors facilities

Plans to close Michener Centre in about 10 months and move 175 residents with developmental disabilities to group homes or seniors’ facilities will not be easy given the needs of some residents, says vice-president of the Central Alberta Council on Aging.

Plans to close Michener Centre in about 10 months and move 175 residents with developmental disabilities to group homes or seniors’ facilities will not be easy given the needs of some residents, says vice-president of the Central Alberta Council on Aging.

About 50 medically fragile residents will be heading to seniors facilities.

Doug Janssen said Friday that there are already seniors waiting in hospital and in Red Deer who need beds, plus seniors from Symphony Senior Living Aspen Ridge where 49 Alberta Health Services funded beds are closing.

Michener is also home to some residents with severe behaviour problems who could not fit in elsewhere, said Janssen who has worked in the Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) field.

“These two groups of folks are very, very difficult to place. In the event placement is unsuccessful, what are the alternates?” asked Janssen on Friday.

He said given the traditional differences between mental health services and PDD, it’s highly unlikely Michener residents would go to Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka.

Some of the medically fragile seniors are profoundly handicapped and virtually bed-ridden, he said.

“There’s not many nursing homes that will have the capability to serve a lot of these folks,” Janssen said.

Michener’s closure was announced by the province Monday to friends and family of Michener Centre residents, many of whom pledged to oppose the decision to close the 90-year-old institution.

Brenda Corney, chair of Friends of Medicare Red Deer chapter, wondered how much planning has gone into closing Michener.

“To just throw (Michener seniors) into the population and expect people with no experience with mental disabilities to know exactly what to do for them is kind of over the top. It’s just one more added stressor to long-term care system that isn’t functioning all that well,” Corney said.

“It doesn’t take much inquiry to know long-term care beds aren’t in abundance here.”

Residents are going to lose caregivers who know them and understand what they need just like the seniors transferred to Extendicare Michener Hill when the province closed Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor in 2010, she said.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees anticipates as many as 400 of Michener’s 640 staff will be laid off, redeployed or retrained.

For years agencies contracted to care for PDD clients in the community have had a hard time retaining staff due to lower wages. This year the province is giving agencies a 10-per-cent wage increase for staff.

Corney said the province is more interested in cutting health care costs than focusing on what patients, staff and the health care system needs.

Over the years Michener grew to 60 buildings and housed more than 2,200 residents.

Michener Centre, which comprises over 300 acres, is located between 30th and 40th Avenues in Red Deer. It has a north and south site, located one kilometre part.

About 105 Michener residents are already in Michener Hill group homes, most located at the south site, and a few are nearby in Michener Hill residential neighbourhood.

Operating Michener Centre costs $41 million annually, which includes the cost of existing group homes.

Cheryl Chichak, spokesperson with Alberta Human Services, said residents who will be moving have typically chosen to stay at Michener.

About 15 per cent of Michener residents would be considered to have complex behavioural needs and about 10 per cent have extensive medical needs.

“There isn’t anyone living at Michener that has higher needs than people who are living in the community. We have community service providers who are experts at providing support for people with complex needs whether those are behavioural or health needs,” Chichak said.

“Over the years people have been moving out as community options get better and better and as care moves towards that direction. The ones who are there are usually the ones who wanted to stay or family really wanted them to stay.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Marcus Golczyk, with Taco Monster, hands food to a customer during Food Truck Drive and Dash in the Westerner Park parking lot in Red Deer Friday afternoon. The drive-thru event will run every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through June. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Food Truck Fridays, Food Truck Drive and Dash return in Red Deer

Red Deerians are able to take in a drive-thru food truck experience… Continue reading

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada's vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel's approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

JASPER, Alta. — A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing… Continue reading

The smouldering remains of houses in Slave Lake, Alta., are seen in a May 16, 2011, file photo. The wildfire that is devastating large swaths of the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray comes just five years after another blaze destroyed 400 buildings and left 2,000 people homeless in Slave Lake, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Ten years later: Five things to know about the Slave Lake wildfire

A wildfire burned about one-third of Slave Lake in northern Alberta in… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid races to 100 points this NHL season

Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid sprinted to a 100-point NHL season and… Continue reading

A Foodora courier is pictured as they pick up an order for delivery from a restaurant in Toronto, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Two-year EI review needed to buy time for needed tech upgrades, Qualtrough says

OTTAWA — Canada’s employment minister says a budgetary pledge for funding to… Continue reading

A person wears a face mask as they walk through McGill University during light snowfall in Montreal, Sunday, December 20, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Some universities say no to proof of vaccination requirement

A COVID-19 vaccine likely won’t be a requirement to return to the… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, participate in a virtual discussion with seniors from Residence Memphremagog in Magog, Que., from Ottawa on Monday, May 3, 2021. Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats are on the move in advance of a potential election this year, recruiting candidates, training volunteers and grappling with how to kiss babies and press the flesh in a virtual, pandemic-restricted world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Grappling with how to press the virtual flesh, parties gear up for election showdown

OTTAWA — The three main national parties are firing up their election… Continue reading

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Most Read