Saskatchewan's first HIV care home opens its doors in Saskatoon

CBC News- Nov 02, 2015 The province's first HIV transitional care home and hospice held a sneak peek in Saskatoon today.

On Tuesday, patients will begin moving into Sanctum's 10-bed facility located in the former Grey Nuns' residence on 134 Avenue O South.

"I thank God for [the people involved]," said Crystal Dreaver. She spoke at the opening event in front of about 100 attendees. She said she knows firsthand what it's like to live with HIV and is "stoked" for the new hospice.

"They took the time to care. That's why I know this place will benefit all who come who have HIV or AIDS," said Dreaver.

"There are lots of support services in the community but we [didn't] quite have enough, so [patients went] to the hospital," said president and co-founder of Sanctum, Dr. Morris Markentin.

Martentin said most of these patients would end up in the acute care environment which was not an ideal place a for six-week stay.

"Sanctum will hopefully transition them to a better place where they can get healthier and the find a home of their own," said Markentin.

"It'll give them time to heal to get their strength back, so then they can move on with their lives. And with the holistic care approach, we can deal with some of the mental health issues that they have , maybe work on their addictions or just give them a safe place to be," he added.

Sanctum to offer 3 types of care

There will be three types of care offered at the care facility, including supportive, end of life and respite.

There will be seven transitional home beds available for up to a three-month stay per patient. These beds will be allocated to clients diagnosed with HIV that need supportive, sub-acute, or rehabilitative care. Some will be designated to those who do not meet the long-term care qualifications or have difficulties accessing home care support.

Two beds will be dedicated to patients in need of end of life care, and the last bed will be used by respite care patients recovering from an operation or waiting for appropriate supports. They will be able to stay for up to 14 days.

The Saskatoon Health Region will be providing $836,000 for operational funding for the facility's first year. The Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership and the Community Advisory Board on Saskatoon Homelessness will also chip in $180,000 in funding.

"[Sanctum offers] a home-like environment," said Markentin. "[Patients at] the hospital – it's like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole; they are the square peg [but now] we found the square hole."

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