Elderly residents forced from their home in the Highland Wood Long Term Care facility in February are finally able to return. Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) announced the facility will be re-opening June 3.  

The organization has repaired the leaky roof which resulted in all 28 of the facility’s residents relocating Feb. 7.

President and CEO Carolyn Plummer reported to the HHHS board May 23 that staff are contacting former residents and their families and plans are underway to transition them back. 

 “We’re very excited to be in this position of bringing our residents back home,” Plummer said. “We do have plans being prepared right now, and many plans already in place, for how we’re going to bring residents back in a way that’s going to be minimally disruptive to them.”  

“We’re very happy with how the work has progressed in terms of the roof replacement and the internal repairs,” she added.

Since the evacuation, HHHS has transferred people to other long-term care homes in the region.  

Peter Brogden’s wife, Margaret Brogden, was living in the facility.

He said HHHS moved her to Extendicare Haliburton and the process went smoothly.  

“It was really very straightforward,” he said. “It was really a very low-impact disturbance. To go and visit her in Highland Wood or Extendicare is really no different, one from the other.”

He noted his wife’s mobility made the situation easier for her compared to others but added staff performed well throughout.  

“The staff did a very good job of accommodating all the residents for the move which was bound to be awkward for some,” Brogden said.  

Judy Johnson’s mother was in Highland Wood.

She was moved to a facility in Lindsay for a short time but was then offered a room at Hyland Crest in Minden.

She said the family naturally jumped at the chance to have her back in Haliburton County.

In her case, she is opting to stay at Hyland Crest and not move back to Highland Wood.  

“My mother-in-law and my mom’s sister also live at Hyland Crest and my sister lives and works in Minden so it was a win-win all the way around. Mom was given the opportunity to return to Highland Wood but declined as she is very comfortable in her new home and enjoys the staff and residents alike. She also commented that she could not handle another move,” Johnson said.  

The roof of the facility was assessed in 2017 and was already scheduled to be replaced this spring.

However, the roof failed “suddenly and without warning” in winter due to snow and ice buildup, according to a preliminary report from the HHHS’s insurer’s roof inspector.  

Brodgen said there was nobody to blame for what happened. 

 “Sometimes circumstances work the way you don’t want them to work out,” he said. “The test is really how well you can adapt to it. Fortunately for us, it was not particularly difficult for the adaptation.” 

In a May 23 press release, HHHS said the Highland Wood information hotline remains open and can be reached at (705) 457-1392 ext. 2400.

Family members with questions are also encouraged to contact the Central East LHIN Long-Term Care Placement Team at (705) 310-2222.  

“We look forward to welcoming our long-term care residents back to Highland Wood,” the press release said. 

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