Jeff Heuchert email@example.com
A restoration and an insurance company continue to assess the damage at the peopleCare facility in Stratford after a serious flood that forced the evacuation of the longterm care home's 55 residents.
Jennifer Killing, vice president of longterm care operations with peopleCare, told the Gazette on Friday there has been no indication as to when the Mornington Street building – a former residence that was converted into a nursing home in the 1960s – might be reopened.
"We do not have any timeframes at all," Killing said.
In the meantime, the home's residents have been placed in other peopleCare facilities in nearby communities as well as in other Stratford nursing homes.
It's also unclear at this point as to what exactly caused the burst pipe on Tuesday, Feb. 17. The flooding was discovered by staff around 9:15 p.m., said Killing, and it took about 45 minutes for the water to be shut off. By then the basement mechanical room was submerged in as much as five feet of water.
"It was a lot of water in a very short period of time," Killing said.
With the building's water and heating turned off, staff made the decision around 1:15 a.m. Wednesday to evacuate the residents. The home's one-call system was used to immediately notify all staff members and the residents' families.
As required by the province, peopleCare has an established emergency plan for such situations that was followed, Killing said, adding the evacuation went very smoothly.
Paratransit buses were used to transport residents to the other facilities.
"It was very orderly. We did one group at a time to each location," Killing said, noting the last resident left the building around 9:30 a.m.
"(The residents) handled it incredibly well," she added. "The staff has developed very strong relationships with them and they trusted that we were doing it because we had to."
While staying at the temporary homes the residents continue to be cared for by the staff from peopleCare in Stratford. Killing said having a familiar face to assist a resident in an unfamiliar environment has made for an easier transition.
"It's made things much smoother," she added.