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Health Sciences North opens Acute and Reactivation Care Centre

New 52-bed facility is $11.9 million project designed to help older patients stabilize or improve their health status
Health Sciences North President and CEO David McNeil speaking at the official opening of the new Acute and Reactivation Care Centre on Nov. 7.

Health Sciences North (HSN) in Sudbury has opened a new multi-million dollar Acute and Reactivation Care Centre (ARCC), a place designed to help older patients stabilize or improve their health status while also helping them regain independence.

The new facility will have 52 beds and is located in the former pediatric NEO Kids and Children's Treatment area. The NEO Kids facility was moved out to the Southridge Mall one year ago. 

The full cost of the new ARCC is $11.9 million with $9.6 million provided by the Ontario government and $2.3 million coming from the HSN's Volunteer Association through the successful HSN 50/50 Cash Lottery, which features monthly draws.

Hospital President and CEO David McNeil said since the pandemic the hospital has been under pressure from many elderly patients that contribute to higher occupancy and alternate level of care (ALC) rates.

"This center is an effective measure that will improve care for seniors and others with acute and reactivation needs," he said. 

The ARCC offers a model of care that adopts geriatric best practices with a rehabilitative care philosophy in a collaborative model with healthcare providers trained in geriatrics, and coordinated supports to help seniors return home, said McNeil.

Dr. Jo-Anne Clarke, the medical director for HSN's Northeast Geriatrics Center, speaks at the official opening of the new Acute and Reactivation Care Centre on Nov. 7. Len Gillis / Sudbury.Com

Dr. Joanne Clarke, the medical director for HSN's Northeast Geriatrics Center, said one of the key reasons for the new centre is that people are living longer and health care is doing a better job.

"We have made great strides in medicine. We have advanced treatments for heart disease; for cancer; we have novel vaccines for infectious disease; innovative treatments for diabetes and state of the art interventions for stroke," said Clarke. 

"These are all therapies we have here thanks to research at HSN. And with advanced medicine, people are living longer."

The other side of that she said is that many elderly patients have more diseases and medical conditions. Clarke said it means elderly patients require specialized care to help them get healthy and stay healthy, longer.

"This 52-bed center will ensure patients have the specialized care and support they need early in their hospitalization process to reduce functional loss so they can get better, so they can minimize the functional loss associated with acute illness, get out of hospital and get back home which is so important to our patients and our families," said Clarke.

Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones speaks at the official opening of the new Acute and Reactivation Care Centre on Nov. 7. Len Gillis / Sudbury.Com

Also on hand for the opening event Tuesday was Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones, who congratulated the hospital and the geriatric care team for opening the new facility.

"I think that we forget sometimes in government that there are so many people who make sure a project gets from a seed, an idea to what we see here today,” Jones said. “So congratulations, you really did go above and beyond. And I'm so pleased to see so much community engagement and community support. And I'm very just very happy that you've been able to make it through.”

She also thanked opposition MPPs Jamie West (Sudbury) and France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) for attending the event and said the new ARCC centre would indeed "be a game changer in your community."

Jones also mentioned that the new centre was another example of how the Ford Conservative government is working to provide essential health care closer to home and in a more convenient manner for Ontario residents.

Melanie Briscoe, administrative director of HSN's Northeast Geriatrics Centre, showed off one of the new patient rooms at the Acute and Reactivation Care Centre opening on Nov. 7. Len Gillis / Sudbury.Com

Along with setting out to score political points, Jones announced additional funding for the Sudbury hospitals long-term capital plan.

"Today, I'm pleased to announce our government is taking further action to ensure Health Sciences North has the capacity they need to serve their community now, and for years to come," said Jones. 

"Our government is investing an additional $5 million to Health Sciences North to support early capital planning for the hospital's future expansion.”

Anthony Keating, the chief development officer for HSN Foundations and volunteer groups, told the event he was pleased that the Foundations were able to make such a sizable contribution to the new centre. 
Keating gave credit to the generosity of the residents of Sudbury and Northeastern Ontario that support the Foundations fundraising efforts. 

"As many of you know, philanthropy and community support are so critical in making exceptional care happen. The key goal of our Foundations and volunteer groups at HSN is to fund projects that give patients and families throughout Northeastern Ontario access to high quality health care," he said. 

Len Gillis covers health care and mining for


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Len Gillis

About the Author: Len Gillis

Graduating from the Journalism program at Canadore College in the 1970s, Gillis has spent most of his career reporting on news events across Northern Ontario with several radio, television and newspaper companies. He also spent time as a hardrock miner.
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