Work on the multi-million dollar Robert Smith Child and Adolescent Complex and Special Education Unit (RSCAC) at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre is progressing smoothly and health officials say the facility should be open in a matter of weeks.
The 35,000 square foot complex features dormitory units of varying sizes and will house three to six residents each. They will be grouped according to their special needs and degree of independence.
There are provisions for an eight-bed crib unit for those who require total nursing care.
Officials say even though 45 children now reside at Sandilands, the total planned resident capacity for the centre is 90.
On Wednesday Health Minister Dr. Perry Gomez and several Public Hospital Authority (PHA) officials toured the facility, which is at the southeastern wing of the Fox Hill institution.
The complex contains an isolation unit for children who may be suffering from infectious diseases. This will ensure that the diseases do not spread to the rest of the population.
There will also be two group therapy rooms and three time-out rooms to address behavioural issues.
Officials say bathrooms contain fixtures that cater for special needs. One of the most unusual fixtures is a bathtub that rises and descends to facilitate access.
Following a tour of the facility Dr. Gomez told reporters that he was “highly impressed” with the entire institution.
“It looks beautiful. It should be an excellent unit and they transfer the child and adolescent unit they have now into that new structure but let’s just hope and pray that the standard of work that they now do increases. But it’s not buildings that get people better, it is people and their attitude to care,” he said.
PHA Managing Director Herbert Brown said the centre’s construction was funded by the National Insurance Board (NIB).
But he expects that the PHA will take over its management.
“When you compare the facility today to what it is like now, you can readily see that it is a better laid-out facility with more support services and I think that at the end of the day, the staff would be able to provide the level of care to the patients that they need,” Mr. Brown said.
“The facility is under the management of the National Insurance Board and we are advised the facility will be turned over to the PHA sometime by the end of July.”
He continued, “As you would note now, they are putting in place all of the furniture and equipment. There are some mechanical issues that will be addressed in short order.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Brown noted that Sandilands has made a number of strides throughout the institution.
“What we have started is the upgrade of the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre including the psychiatrist in the geriatric centre. We still need to upgrade the level of service that we have and in that regard we started a phase redevelopment about two and a half years ago. We are well on our way in that regard,” he said.