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Future use of Slocan site

The health-care site at Slocan Street and 21st Avenue in East Vancouver will become home to a new centre for children and youth living with health complexity.

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Population & Services

In August 2020, the Sunny Hill Health Centre moved from the Slocan site to the BC Children's Hospital Oak Street campus. The Ministry of Health announced that it will continue the legacy of children's health-care services on the site and gave the green light to proceed to the business planning phase. 

The vision for the Slocan site is a new, first-of-its-kind centre in BC for children and youth living with health complexity. Children living with health complexity require a range of health-care services and other supports so that families and care providers can look after them in their own communities, preventing extended or repeated hospital stays.

The new centre will coordinate care by a multi-disciplinary team through a single point of contact; assist families in navigating a complex system of services; train families, caregivers and community care providers to comprehensively support their child; and leverage research and innovation to improve the quality of life for children living with health complexity and their families. 


Across BC, thousands of children require specialized health-care supports due to health complexity.

 

Children and youth living with health complexity:

  • have a complex, chronic condition 
  • experience difficulties performing daily activities and participating in typical childhood activities without significant modification/adaptation 
  • have significant caregiving requirements
  • and frequently use the health and social systems.  

Complex, chronic conditions may be conditions that a child was born with or the result of a traumatic or sudden event. Many conditions are rare, can be hard to diagnose, and can include additional complications that affect all aspects of the child's daily life such as seizures, loss of sight or hearing, developmental delays, or mental health challenges.

 

Caring for these children at home can be difficult as they often require specialized devices (e.g., ventilators, feeding tubes, mobility devices) and more sophisticated home-care practices by parents and caregivers. 

 

In addition to their primary caregivers, these children need multiple subspecialists, health-care providers, and a range of other professionals (e.g., school counsellors, social workers) to be involved in their care. 

 

Families find it challenging to navigate the various supports that their children need because existing services are spread out across the health and social systems, other government ministries and community organizations. The complexity of the current environment of discrete service offerings, along with the limited coordination between them, results in gaps in services and care provider expertise.

 

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The innovative model of care proposed for the Slocan site will be grouped into four key services to be delivered in person or virtually:


  • The referral, intake, and assessment service will work with families and caregivers to determine the appropriate level of support and resources for each child.
  • A single point of contact for the family/caregiver will provide care coordination through a shared care plan.
  • Families/caregivers and community care providers will receive comprehensive teaching and training in their child's care. Patient-centred research and innovation will further our understanding of child health, improve care and quality of life, and optimize well-being.
  • On-site patient rooms will allow children and their families to stay in a home-like environment while learning new care techniques, adjusting to new equipment, or transitioning between the hospital and the home.

Underpinning all services is a focus on supporting and easing transitions for children and youth living with health complexity and their families: from hospital to home, through changes in equipment and needs, and through key developmental stages such as moving from pediatric to adult services.

 

The centre, through its spaces and services, will offer support to the whole family – parents, siblings, caregivers – recognizing that the health and well-being of the family and caregivers directly impact the quality of life for children with health complexity.

 

The new centre and its services will be universally accessible, welcoming, and culturally safe for all, especially Indigenous children, youth and their families.


The services are being designed in collaboration with families, caregivers, community health providers, health authorities across BC, Indigenous partners, and a range of medical and pediatric experts. 


Integrating virtual health into all aspects of care delivery ensures that a child with health complexity in northern BC will have similar access to specialized care and services as a child from the Lower Mainland who physically visits the site.

About the Project

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is preparing a Business Plan for the Slocan site, to be submitted in the fall of 2021, which will finalize the project scope, clinical services, high-level design direction, and budget.

During the development of the Business Plan, key groups are being consulted including patients and families/caregivers, care providers, medical experts, the residential community and Indigenous partners. If you would like to be involved, please reach out to slocaninfo@phsa.ca. If you have thoughts you'd like to share about the redevelopment of the site, take our survey.

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The project is currently in the business planning phase. We expect to submit the Business Plan to the Ministry of Health in the fall of 2021. 


Once the Business Plan is approved, the design and construction of the centre can begin. We expect the centre to open in 2027. Please note that these dates are approximate and are subject to change.

 

The project budget is in development and will be shared publicly once the Business Plan is approved.

The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) continues to offer interim services for children on the Slocan site. These include Nursing Support Services (NSS), a BC Children's Hospital program. NSS is a network of community-based registered nurses throughout BC who assist children and youth with health complexity within their homes and communities. 


NSS will be an integral component of the new centre for children with health complexity and will be incorporated into its model of care.

 


The new centre for health complexity will continue the tradition of providing healing services to children on the Slocan site, which began as a tuberculosis preventorium in 1931 and eventually became the Sunny Hill Health Centre.

 

1930s – The Vancouver Preventorium for Children with Tuberculosis

A committee tasked with establishing a tuberculosis preventorium for school-aged children acquired the site at Slocan Street and 21st Avenue from the City of Vancouver, which had been operating an isolation hospital for smallpox patients on the site.

 

Upon opening its doors in November of 1931, the Vancouver Preventorium for Children with Tuberculosis was equipped with 25 beds, a school, a playroom, a library and landscaped grounds.

 

1940s and 1950s – Battling tuberculosis and polio

Tuberculosis and polio were major health issues of this time. Kids from across the province, including a large number of First Nations communities, came to the Preventorium seeking expert care for these diseases.

 

After a visit from Princess Margaret, the Vancouver Preventorium was renamed the Princess Margaret Children's Village in 1959.

 

1960s – A transformative decade

With the success of antibiotics in treating tuberculosis, preventoriums became obsolete. And so the Slocan site experienced a great transition. In 1961, the Princess Margaret Children's Village was renamed Sunny Hill Hospital for Children. Sunny Hill's focus evolved to caring for kids with cerebral palsy, disabilities, and children requiring extensive rehabilitation.

 

The 1960s also saw a transformation in the care of people with developmental and physical challenges. It marked the beginning of a shift toward giving children with a wide variety of developmental conditions the support needed to achieve greater independence and social inclusion.

 

1970s – Expanding services

The 1970s saw a range of new services at Sunny Hill – including outpatient developmental and medical assessments at the Children's Hospital Diagnostic Centre. In 1976, Canada hosted its first Paralympic Games in Toronto.

 

1980s – Significant renovations

Sunny Hill underwent a significant renovation that included the construction of a north wing, an indoor pool, a gymnasium, and Hartman House, which opened as a group home for children with severe disabilities. The Hartman House building was repurposed several times after the group home closed. Before Sunny Hill's move, it housed the BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN), where families come to receive team-based assessment and diagnosis.

 

1990s and 2000s – Outreach across BC

Sunny Hill staff members began providing outreach services by traveling to communities throughout British Columbia, helping to ensure that kids from all over the province had access to specialized care.

 

As Sunny Hill celebrated its 60th anniversary in 1991, it underwent a shift from providing long-term care to short-term diagnostic assessments. This transition involved a decrease in inpatient beds and an increase in outpatient and outreach services.

 

In 1997, Sunny Hill merged with BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre to form a new entity called the Children's and Women's Health Centre of BC. In 2002, Sunny Hill and BC Children's became part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), leading to further development of province-wide services for kids.

 

2010s – The daycare closes

At the end of August 2018, the daycare at the Slocan site closed. A special event honoured the impact the daycare had on the lives of children and families over the years.

 

2020s – A new era begins

In August 2020, Sunny Hill relocated from the Slocan site into a newly-renovated, state-of-the-art facility on the BC Children's Hospital Oak Street campus. Its name changed one last time to Sunny Hill Health Centre at BC Children's Hospital.

 

Sunny Hill's move has offered a tremendous opportunity to re-imagine children's health-care services on the Slocan site, and to continue the site's long legacy of caring for this population.


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