A new long-term care facility in Hammonds Plains means seniors throughout Halifax Regional Municipality will have access to better health care in their own community. Staff and residents of White Hills Long Term Care Centre celebrated the opening of the new facility today, Sept. 22, which fulfills a government commitment to provide options for seniors to stay in their homes and communities longer. Owned and operated by GEM Health Care Group, the 58-bed nursing home is one of two long-term care facilities built to replace the Glades Lodge nursing home in Halifax. The second replacement facility, a 66-bed nursing home in Dartmouth, is expected to open in December. The facility is designed to meet new provincial standards that emphasize home-like surroundings. White Hills has two 14-unit households and two 15-unit households, a layout that reduces traffic and increases privacy for residents. This approach reflects the province’s Better Care Sooner plan, which includes making health care more patient-centred. “We’re delighted to have this brand new long-term care facility here in our community,” said MLA Mat Whynott, on behalf of Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald. “Through facilities like this, long-term care residents are getting better care in their own communities. Not only that, but it also employs people from the Hammonds Plains area.” The home has large cathedral ceilings in the living and dining room areas, a landscaped outdoor courtyard, a spiritual room and a multi-purpose room. GEM Health Care Group has hired 97 staff to provide care to the residents and manage the facility. Many of the employees live in the White Hills area. The facility has admitted eight new residents from the Hammonds Plains area since June. “Our residents were looking forward to making the move to this gorgeous new building. Everyone is really happy they’re here,” said James Balcom, director of operations, GEM Health Care Group. “New employees are in place and everything is running smoothly. Residents are especially enjoying the quieter spaces and more privacy.” White Hills residents have access to 24-hour nursing care, as well as medical, nutritional and pharmacy services, occupational therapy and physiotherapy. “I love it here, the rooms are big and spacious. There is more privacy than we had before,” said Marjorie Brown, a resident who moved from Glades Lodge. The province has opened nearly 1,100 new beds in 13 new, stand-alone facilities and 10 facility expansions as part of the 10-year, $262-million Continuing Care Strategy. Access to White Hills Long Term Care Centre, as well as other provincial long-term care facilities, is through the Department of Health and Wellness’ Single Entry Access system at 1-800-225-7225.