The Yukon government says the Whistle Bend continuing care home is on time and under budget. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Construction nearly finished at Whitehorse’s Whistle Bend continuing care facility

Residents are slated to start moving in in October

A spokesperson for the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works says the Whistle Bend continuing care facility will be handed over to the Department of Health and Social Services next month.

Move-in for residents is slated for early October, public works spokesperson Heather McKay told the News June 26.

McKay said construction of the $146-million facility was also under budget though specific numbers were not available in time for today’s deadline.

Construction of the 150-bed facility began in the spring of 2016. Earlier this year the health minister announced that all 150 beds would be opened at once. Specialized units for patients needing high-level care or palliative care are slated to open in 2019 and 2020.

So far in the month of June Whitehorse General Hospital’s 39 general care beds have ranged from a low of 79 per cent capacity to a high of 118 per cent.

On June 26 beds were 100 per cent full, hospital spokesperson Cam Heke said.

Twelve of the beds were occupied by patients with needs that don’t require acute hospital care, he said.

Health spokesperson Pat Living said the department is on track to have the new facility staffed in time for its opening in October.

“We’re moving where we need to be.”

It’s expected to need approximately 250 staff. The government estimates it will be able to fill about 100 of those positions with either local hires from Yukon College or employees who move to the Whistle Bend facility when Macaulay Lodge closes. That leaves about 100 people to hire from Outside, said health spokesperson Pat Living.

Living said the department has hired an Ontario-based recruitment firm to help. The department has been making job offers “on a regular basis,” she said. Living called the hiring efforts “unprecedented” for the territory. Specific numbers of how many jobs remain to be filled were not immediately available.

Living said move-in for residents will likely happen in stages over three or four weeks.

“You want to move people in and you want them to settle in, to get used to the facility and everything, and then you move another group of people.”

Contact Ashley Joannnou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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