A northern Saskatchewan health official says it’s too early to know whether the concept of turning a vacant Creighton motel into a long-term care facility makes sense.
At a community meeting in Creighton last month, a consultant for Mamawetan Churchill River Health Region (MCRHR) fielded the suggestion that The Prospector Inn be purchased and converted into a personal care home.
“MCRHR is currently assessing functional program needs and requirements for a long-term care facility,” said David Watts, executive director of integrated health, in an email to The Reminder. “As a result, it is too soon to consider if The Prospector Inn would be appropriate. A much deeper analysis of the problems and possible solutions needs to take place so we are able support and care for our seniors in the way that they deserve for many years to come.”
Dennis Strom, a Creighton resident and former town alderman, hopes MCRHR gives due consideration to the Prospector option.
Strom, who attended the July 30 community meeting, said the idea was put to the MCRHR consultant, who agreed to take it under advisement.
He said the meeting was told the Saskatchewan government intends to provide for the construction of a 70-bed, MCRHR-operated personal care home in La Ronge.
Watts said the La Ronge proposal has not received approval to move forward.
“MCRHR is currently assessing the functional program needs,” he added.
Strom said that when meeting attendees – about 45 people from across the Creighton region, mostly seniors – were asked whether they would move to La Ronge to live in a care home, not a single person said
He said there is an obvious disconnect if MCRHR believes seniors will move from Creighton to La Ronge and called this a case of “La Ronge-itus” – an inability to see past La Ronge as a northern Saskatchewan hub.
In a letter to Creighton town council, Strom said it makes no sense for local seniors to leave this region “for the relative isolation of La Ronge, some 200 miles distant on roads of often questionable quality and where essential family support would be non-existent.”
He urged council to forge “a substantially different relationship” with MCRHR if it “wants to ensure the availability of financial resources needed for construction and operation” of a personal care home in Creighton.
“And if this proves impossible, then the Town of Creighton may need to consider and promote other options for Health Care delivery in the Northeast Region,” Strom added.
Creighton mayor Bruce Fidler said while a personal care home in La Ronge would be “a big benefit to that area…it doesn’t help us over on the east side” of Saskatchewan.
“Not many people are willing to travel or want to leave here and go into a facility in La Ronge,” he said.
Watts said MCRHR recognizes that reality.
“We need to work with the community to understand how we can support people living in their own homes for as long as practicably possible,” he said. “MCRHR understands that we also need to work with its many partners, such as the Ministry of Health, Northern Health Region and the local community to find short- and long-term solutions to the issues facing our seniors.”
The need for a personal care home has been a major concern in Creighton for years.
As it stands, many Creighton and Denare Beach seniors who require a care home relocate across the border to Flin Flon to live at either the Personal Care Home attached to the hospital or the Northern Lights Manor.
The Prospector Inn closed suddenly in January 2015 and is currently for sale. There had been talk of a group of local investors buying the business, but nothing materialized.
The building, which opened in 1988, includes a restaurant and beverage room.