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Better care and working conditions expected as Lady Isabelle prepares for re-opening

'I think the biggest thing for me was that my health was deteriorating with the stress of doing the care and not being able to get out socially the same anymore'
Lady Isabelle Nursing Home in Trout Creek. Supplied.

Jeanne Hagey would drive 40 minutes to visit her husband at his long-term care home in North Bay.

“He was on the list to go to long-term care, but it wasn't until he became critical that they were able to get him in,” Hagey recalls.

Hagey’s husband, George, was diagnosed in 1993 with Huntington’s disease, a disorder that results in the death of brain cells.

George was admitted to Leisureworld Caregiving Centre, currently known as Waters Edge Care Community, in 2010.

He was later transferred to Lady Isabelle Nursing Home in Trout Creek in April 2011 before passing away on July 7 of that year.

But for those few months, Hagey could spend more time with her husband who was only 15 minutes from their home.

Lady Isabelle, which has 64 beds, closed about two years ago, but is expected to reopen as an extension of North Bay’s Cassellholme Home for the Aged, under the ownership of Wilsondale Asset Management of Woodbridge, Ont.

See: New 96-bed $32 million long-term care home for Trout Creek to be managed by Cassellholme

Wilsondale purchased Lady Isabelle more than a year ago, has renovated the facility and submitted a plan to the province in January for a new 96-bed long-term care home at an estimated $32-million cost.

Before her husband was admitted to Leisureworld, Hagey says caring for him took a toll on her own health, even with the assistance of a personal support worker.

She believes he should have been placed in a nursing home six months to a year earlier.

“It’s a feeling of being inadequate to be able to look after the needs of your loved one,” Hagey explains. “I think the biggest thing for me was that my health was deteriorating with the stress of doing the care and not being able to get out socially the same anymore.”

Hagey believes there is a need for more long-term care homes, particularly ones that are closer to families.

Powassan Mayor Peter McIssac agrees and is eager to see Lady Isabelle reopen in Trout Creek.

McIssac believes the facility will provide comfort to many people who won’t have to travel as far to visit their relatives.

”It definitely fills a void there,” he says.

McIssac, expects Lady Isabelle to have an “absolutely huge” economic impact on the immediate area.

But not everyone agrees with the plan.

Noting that Lady Isabelle is only 10 minutes from Eastholme Home for the Aged, John Train believes South River has a greater need for a long-term care home.

“I don't think there should be two buildings in the same municipality for sure,” says Train, president of the South River Friendly Circle and a former Machar Township councillor. “Two of them are very close together, and yet, areas such as South River and Sundridge are poorly served.

“This money is going out of our area to Powassan and Trout Creek, and we have nothing here in South River.

“Why put our money into a community farther north? I know it's only about 14 kilometres, but still. If they're going to rebuild something, put it somewhere else where there are other communities such as South River, Sundridge and Burk’s Falls that are more central.”

Mackenzie Casalino, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, North Bay Nugget.

The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

About the Author: Mackenzie Casalino

Mackenzie Casalino is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The LJI is funded by the government of Canada
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