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New Brunswick opens $28-million neuro rehab centre

FREDERICTON – The new $28-million Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation was officially opened in Fredericton by Premier Bernard Lord.

“This is an investment that is important to patients and their families, to physicians and other staff of the Stan Cassidy Centre, and to healthcare renewal in the province,” Lord said. “The new Stan Cassidy Centre will ensure that any New Brunswicker who needs specialized neurological rehabilitation will receive that care, at the right time, in the right place.”

Among those who joined Lord at the official opening were Health Minister Brad Green; Supply and Services Minister Bev Harrison; Mardi Cockburn, chair of the board of directors of River Valley Health; and doctors Robert Leckey and Ron Harris of the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation.

“Today’s official opening represents a milestone in the renewal of the healthcare system so that it meets the needs of New Brunswickers today and in the future,” Green said. “The new Stan Cassidy Centre will be a key component of the provincial healthcare system for many decades to come.”

Elsie Cassidy – widow of Stan Cassidy, for whom the centre is named – was among several hundred invited guests who attended the official opening.

(Pictured above, left to right: Premier Bernard Lord; Elsie Cassidy, widow of Stan Cassidy; and Health Minister Brad Green.)

The original centre opened in 1957, and was known as the Forest Hill Rehabilitation Centre. In 1994 it was renamed the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, and was designated as the provincial provider of tertiary neurological rehabilitation for New Brunswick.

“We are grateful for the support of government and the communities of New Brunswick,” Cockburn said. “The specialized team at the Stan Cassidy now has a beautiful state-of-the-art facility that will enhance its ability to provide the best possible service to clients.”

The new centre is located adjacent to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton. The $28-million project included a laboratory addition for the hospital.

“The long-standing wish for a new facility is now a reality thanks to everyone involved in the dreams and plans that led to the construction,” said Leckey, the facility’s medical director. “This fine addition to the health system is an accomplishment of which we can all be truly proud.”

The Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation is the only facility in the province with teams of highly specialized health-care professionals and the equipment and technology required to treat patients with complex disabilities. These may be due to strokes, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries or other neurological problems.

“Complex rehabilitation is an applied science that puts top-class professional skills to the test,” said Harris, who is the centre’s administrative director. “The art of complex rehabilitation is to convince each person that regaining autonomy is within his or her grasp. Stan Cassidy staff will continue to excel at both the art and science of rehabilitation in this splendid new centre.” The new centre has 25 percent more in-patient beds and almost 30 more clinical and non-clinical staff to provide specialized rehabilitative care and support services to clients.

“This represents an additional investment of more than $1.8 million this year in added staffing,” Lord said. “This increase in staffing and in beds will reduce the average wait time for in-patient care to 25 days from 30 days.”

Other key features of the new centre include:

• apartment-like transitional living units to help patients make the adjustment from in-patient care to living at home;

• enhanced services and facilities dedicated to pediatric rehabilitation; and

• enhanced privacy and other features that will improve client dignity.

The Stan Cassidy Centre currently handles more than 20,000 outpatient appointments and more than 100 in-patients per year. The average length of stay for in-patients in 2005 was 52 days, but stays of a year or more are not uncommon.