‘Great sense of community’ at Comox hospital’s complex-care facility

The Views has been a part of St. Joseph's General Hospital for over 30 years and has seen many changes in that time.

Longtime Views resident Wilma McKenzie enjoys competing in the Pioneer Olympics each year.

Each month, the Comox Valley is featuring articles about the history of St. Joseph’s General Hospital, which celebrates its centennial this year.

The Views has been a part of St. Joseph’s General Hospital for over 30 years and has seen many changes in that time.

Nestled on the top of the hill below the hospital, the Views was first known as the St. Joseph’s extended-care unit when built in 1982. Fifty beds were added on in 1993, bumping the total number of beds to 125, all of which are publicly funded.

Now a complex-care facility instead of an extended-care facility, the Views has two units — Eagleview Manor (75 beds) and Oceanview Manor (50 beds) — both of which are named for the Views’ view overlooking the Strait of Georgia, Beaufort Mountains and nearby nesting eagles.

Rick Sawatzky, a registered nurse at the facility since the early ’90s, says a big change over the years has been the increase in activities for residents, something he says is very good.

“What I say about nursing is I just need to help people be healthy enough and get them prepared for their real day, and that’s the activities that they do,” he says, noting the Snoezelen, which offers quiet stimulation for residents with advanced dementia, is one example of an activity the Views picked up over the years. “It’s actually a great thing for people who have difficulty relating to this world any longer, with dementias, severe dementias.

“That was cutting edge (when implemented) — in all of the country it was cutting edge.”

Brenda Phillips, activity director at the Views, notes the addition of the Physical Activation Recreation Centre (PARC) has also been welcomed by everyone at the facility.

“That’s been an amazing addition to us to be able to run programs there and that was all (built) by donations from the community,” she says.

“It’s been wonderful having that space,” she continues as she points to a balance class happening in the PARC. “It’s used for a lot of fitness classes, we have crib tournaments we’ve held in there, we have meetings, Catholic mass is now using this space…”

Dancing, music, swimming excursions and gardening are a few of the other many activities listed on the Views’ activity guide.

Though the Views continues to offer new activities, it has also offered one in particular since the facility’s doors opened — the Pioneer Olympics.

Residents compete in various games against teams from other facilities, like Glacier View Lodge and the Comox Valley Seniors Village. The Views’ team is called St. Joseph’s Eagles, and the games include floor curling, horseshoes and basketball toss.

Phillips has also seen an increase in volunteers from the community, including more youth and retired professionals like nurses or people with extensive computer knowledge.

“It’s not just the coffee and tea service anymore and helping with bingo — we’re trying to incorporate all of those (volunteers’) skills and abilities to the best benefit for us, so we’ve got the best of the volunteer, what they’re bringing to us, which is great,” she says, noting an example of someone with computer knowledge helping residents use the facility computers.

Bunny the dog is a volunteer of sorts. She is a therapy dog who visits residents at the Views five days per week with her caretaker Julie Stamm, who works at the facility as an activity aid.

Residents “go for walks with her, she comes on rides with us, she just hangs out with people,” explains Stamm. “We go from room to room and visit with residents that can’t be out in the common areas. She just is a really nice presence.”

Resident Wilma McKenzie has been in Eagleview Manor since 1997, and was born at St. Joseph’s in 1930. She says there have been many changes in routines, staff and activities over the years, but something that’s been there all along is the Views’ sense of community.

“There’s a great sense of community. We all feel like we’re in one big family,” she says. “It is a great home for me; I love it here. I really enjoy it because I have my own television, my own telephone, an ocean view… I look out on the water, and the ladies in my room are all wonderful, they’re all helpful and kind and they worry about me,” she says with a laugh.



Just Posted

Three generations of trauma: Phyllis Webstad shares experience in residential school

The creator of Orange Shirt Day is in the Comox Valley, speaking about the trauma of residential schools

Comox Valley Airport features work from nationally renown artist

A significant new painting “Lions of the Sea,” featuring life-sized stellar and… Continue reading

Comox Valley Hospice Society Ultimate Fifty/50 Raffle winner announced

James Maxwell bought his ticket at Canadian Tire

Dinner, dance in honour of Kenny Shaw

Comox Legion honours one of the Valley’s prominent volunteers

‘She’s charging. Oh God’: Mama grizzly runs at B.C. man armed with shotgun

People online were quick to question – and defend – a man’s decision to shoot a grizzly bear charging him on a Bella Coola front yard

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

Island Health encourages sexual assault survivors to #TrustYourself

New social media campaign urges survivors of sexual assault to seek medical care

Canada announces $20M fund for women entrepreneurs

New federal program will provide up to $100,000 for female business owners to grow their operations

Vancouver Island man claims falling ice smashed his truck windshield

Man discovered volleyball-sized chunk ice on his truck Saturday, near Nanaimo, B.C.

B.C. veteran combats PTSD in the ring and on the farm

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

B.C. vegan butcher to appear on Dragons’ Den

Victoria’s Very Good Butchers will star in Nov. 29 episode

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Canadian troops, families take shelter in hotel after Florida hurricane

Most of the Canadians were evacuated from the military base before Hurricane Michael

Most Read