Planning and design of the new St. Vincent’s Heather long-term care home is well underway, and will provide vital residential care for seniors in the region. The care home will be a modern environment offering many innovative features as well as culturally safe living spaces and services for Indigenous Elders, such as a sacred space and access to traditional medicine gardens. The care home will also offer community amenities, including a community hall, library, theatre, chapel, bistro and child care centre.
With an eye towards the future and the potential impacts of climate change, Providence and the Energy & Environmental Sustainability Team (EES) are taking proactive measures to incorporate climate resilience strategies into the building’s design. By doing so, they aim to safeguard the future occupants from the potential consequences of climate change.
The St. Vincent’s Heather long-term care home will be a state-of-the-art 240-bed facility comprising 20 “households” designed to accommodate 12 residents each in single-bed rooms. These households are equipped with common areas like living rooms, dining rooms, and activity spaces to provide a homely atmosphere. Located on the former site of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Vancouver, the facility will offer a variety of care services to meet the diverse needs of residents, including specialized dementia care.
The project is currently undergoing rezoning with the City of Vancouver, and the process is expected to be completed in the winter of 2023. Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2025, and the facility is anticipated to open late 2028.
Integrating Climate Resilience Strategies
Senior Manager of Design & Construction – St. Vincent’s Heather Long Term Care – Providence Health Care Capital Projects Rick Buksa emphasizes the importance of integrating climate resilience strategies into the building’s design to ensure its longevity and the safety of its future occupants. According to Buksa, “We are exploring many innovative opportunities to design the building to withstand the impacts of climate change. This is essential in making sure that the building is a safe and comfortable home.”
Accounting for Potential Climate Change Impacts
The building’s design will account for the potential impacts of climate change on its occupants. This includes adapting to warmer temperatures and heat waves, the threat of wildfire smoke and other events that could impact air quality, and increased rainfall. The design team will utilize future climate projections to inform the mechanical and envelope design, to prepare the building for changing temperatures. In addition, the building will feature active cooling with full air conditioning on 100 per cent emergency power back up in the event of a power outage.
Providence’s incorporation of climate resilience strategies in the design of the St. Vincent’s Heather long-term care home demonstrates its commitment to creating a safe and comfortable space for residents. According to Buksa, “It’s all part of providing the best possible care and living experience for residents.”
As our population ages and the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent, the future design of St. Vincent’s Heather long-term care home represents an improved standard for climate resilience in health facilities. By prioritizing the safety and comfort of its future residents, Providence and EES have set an example for future development in Vancouver and beyond. See how our other redevelopment projects are tackling climate resiliency here.
This story originally ran on BC GreenCare.