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The new Providence Care Hospital opens its doors

In late April, the longstanding quest to create a facility that meets the aging, rehabilitation, and mental health needs of the people of southeastern Ontario came to fruition with the opening of the spectacular and brand new Providence Care Hospital.

That which once existed across two sites has now been seamlessly blended into a state-of-the-art building. Just one month before its official opening, Cathy Szabo, Providence Care Hospital CEO, was kind enough to give me and my wife Cheryl, along with former dean David Walker and his wife Emily, a private tour of the new building. I can honestly say it was a magical moment and all four of us were awestruck by the combination of how beautiful the new hospital was, how modern an approach they took to designing the facilities, and how – most importantly – every single aspect of the building spoke to a focus on the patient.

“Providence Care Hospital brings to life the concept of patient-centered care, where services are not siloed in separate facilities but instead are working in collaboration to meet the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of each person,” explains Ms. Szabo. “With 622,000 square feet of new construction, Providence Care Hospital incorporates the latest technology and best-practice design elements to enhance quality of life for our patients, clients, visitors, and staff. This is truly a one-of-a-kind hospital that is both innovative and person-centered.”

The hospital is equipped with 270 private in-patient rooms surrounded by several spaces for activities, including family lounges, kitchenettes, and dining rooms. The hospital is also home to a number of Providence Care’s outpatient services and clinics that are conveniently located in the centre of the building closest to the main entrance.  The security, communication, and computer systems are completely modernized, and new telemedicine and videoconferencing platforms will support collaboration and connection across the region. The hospital was also designed to be energy efficient, and was built with the lake, landscape, natural light and outdoor accessibility in mind. The Worship Centre overlooks Lake Ontario and was designed with input from faith leaders in our community. Finally, dedicated teaching and research space has been thoughtfully incorporated into the new hospital, as it will be the new home to Queen’s Department of Psychiatry, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Department of Medicine’s Geriatric Medicine Division.

There are so many people who have made this new hospital a reality for our community, and I must name a few who are front of mind. Dale Kenney, the former Providence Care CEO, deserves a lot of credit for moving the whole initiative forward, and he was helped by many, but significantly by John Gerretsen, who served as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands from 1995 to 2014. Of course, I must also congratulate the current leadership of the hospital for their instrumental work in seeing the transformation through, including: Cathy Szabo, CEO; Maurio Ruffolo, VP, Hospital Transition and Chief Nurse Executive; Krista Wells Pearce, VP, Planning and Support Services; and the rest of the senior team at Providence Care. We have greatly benefitted from your vision and dedication to this project.

As both dean and an enthusiastic hospital board member, I know this new centre will be a tremendous benefit from so many perspectives. It will, without doubt, assist us in attracting the best health care professionals to Kingston who will have much to gain from working in this fabulous space. It will be a wonderful environment for our students to learn in and for our faculty who are invested in mental health, rehabilitation science and complex care to perform their research. But the ultimate beneficiaries will undoubtedly be our patients and clients from Kingston and beyond.

If you didn’t have a chance to see the new hospital for yourself during one of Providence Care Hospital’s open houses, the community is encouraged to stop by – grab a cup of coffee at the VOCEC at the Lake Café or Starbucks and enjoy the lake view from the cafeteria patio.

Congratulations to all who contributed their time, advice, and expertise to help open the doors of the new Providence Care Hospital. If you would like to share your thoughts on the new hospital, please leave a comment below, or better yet, drop by the Macklem House; my door is always open.


Mon, 05/08/2017 - 16:20


A splendid building, but whether it really “meets the aging, rehabilitation, and mental health needs of the people of southeastern Ontario,” depends very much on the number of beds. Yes, it is “equipped with 270 private in-patient rooms,” each with one bed, but I understand only 120 beds are allocated for psychiatric patients, of which 30 are forensic. This leaves only 90 beds to meet the long-term non-forensic needs of southeastern Ontario. We have long known that for many with major mental illnesses, their beds are now in jail, instead of in a hospital. It seems that the spillover into jails/prisons is likely to continue.

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