Elder-care facility approved for Rankin

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The Kivalliq region is finally going to have its own long-term elder-care facility.

The multi-million dollar 24-bed facility to be located in Rankin Inlet was approved in the Department of Health’s capital budget last week in Iqaluit.

Rankin Inlet South MLA Lorne Kusugak said it took a lot of work by a lot of people to get the facility – the first of three to be constructed in Nunavut – included and approved on the budget.

Rankin Inlet South MLA and Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak lends his support to Pond Inlet Fire Chief Jollie Enoogoo, left, and Lieut. Elisha Karsangak on Firefighters National Memorial Day on Sept. 8. Capt. Lutie Macpa of Pond Inlet became the first Nunavut firefighter to die in the line of duty on July 23, 2018. Kusugak just Kivalliq region is finally going to have its own long-term elder-care facility. Photo courtesy of Mike Courtney

He said with the budget now approved, hopes are high that the ground will finally be broken for the elder-care facility during the summer of 2020.

“The facility will house mainly people from the Kivalliq and, while I’m not sure about Level 4 care, it will definitely provide up to Level 3 care of elders,” said Kusugak.

“Like everyone else, I’m hoping it won’t take long to build but, while it is being constructed, one of the things we’re talking about is, possibly, having Nunavut Arctic College be able to provide some training to have local people trained and ready to be employed there when it’s ready to open.”

Kusugak said the Government of Nunavut is also working on the two elder-care facilities for the Kitikmeot and Baffin regions.

He said the Kitikmeot facility will also be a 24-bed facility, while the Baffin’s – to be located in Iqaluit – will provide up to Level 5 care and have more than 100 beds available.

“Having the Rankin facility approved was a team effort working with cabinet, which had to weigh-out all the possibilities, and it turned out that the quickest way to get to where we want to be would be to have the Rankin facility built first.

“Rankin Inlet is a very large community and we’ve had Rankin elders being cared for in Gjoa Haven, Iglulik, Pond Inlet, Baker Lake, Arviat and Ottawa. It’s time they come home.

“It’s been a long struggle over the years that took a lot of effort to make this happen.

“I’m just glad that this government made elder facilities a priority in Nunavut and Rankin Inlet gets the first opportunity to provide the care necessary to bring our elders home.”