Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury


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Health Care and Other Major Issue:

Over the past number of years there has been considerable involvement in these issues of significant importance to older adults - we continue to be involved

City council during their last term rejected to reconsider moving the definition of Older Adult from 65 to 55 despite hardship for individuals (especially those retired on fixed incomes) with higher parking and transit fees and for city sponsored programs.  This in despite of recommendation by the Seniors Advisory Panel of the city in effect ignoring their advise.  Of particular concern is the fact that the Parkside older adult centre run by the city accepts those 50 and up for services, but those using parking at the city will not receive reduced older adult rates until they are 65.   Interesting that the new facililty described below is available with just $20.00 membership free for those 55 plus.

New Fitness and Exercise Centre at Finlandia - Free for age 55 and over: (posted January 2016)

The brand new non-profit Seniors-Only Fitness and Wellness centre at Finlandia Village off Fourth Avenue in Minnow Lake offers older adults a warm supportive and non-intimidating space with instructors and programs designed specifically for them and it’s FREE and open daily from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.  Yes, free lifetime membership for adults 55 plus featuring indoor heated pool, two saunas (men and women).  There are large change rooms with lockers, spacious main workout area with exclusive personalized hydraulic exercise equipment.  Group classes and individual instruction are available.  All this in a comfortable inclusive environment with no cost except for a $20.00 administrative fee upon membership approval – go on line for full information at or call 705-524-3137 to Stay Strong and live Long!  

We told you so - March 2016:  Read further below to see our concerns and predictions that our local hospital would be overwhelmed by patients in the emergency dept and in the facility itself.  The crisis is upon us. 

Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury and the Sudbury Chapter of CARP hosted a special luncheon with Elizabeth MacNabe, Executive Director of the Ontario coalition of Senior Citizens' Organization to discuss "decision making" for Older Adults.  Click on the youtube link below to see a video news report on the meeting A recent report on Shifting the Paradigm of Ageism by the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens' Organizations is available here. For more information on OCSCO go to

Friendly to Seniors has a long history of advocacy involvement with Seniors Health issues in Greater Sudbury and area as indicated on this site.  This page records history of our activities in this area. We continue to monitor developments and work closely with all parties involved.  In Feb of 2013 Chair John Lindsay participated in a Health Sciences North forum on Seniors Issues at Science North. We have also submitted suggestions to the provincial budget with respect to increased funding for lower cost housing for seniors and more funding for senior health care.

Friendly to Seniors - Annual Fall Board (and guests) meeting - Dec. 3rd  2012

Dr Peter Zalan, chief of the Medical Staff at Health Science North was again a guest at the Fall meeting along with David McNeil of Health Sciences North and Richard Jolly of CCAC.  They addressed concerns related to the closure of the ALC unit at the former Memorial Hospital.  A link to the power point that was presented at the meeting is attached.  Also an "open letter" sent to the media and the Mayor with respect to the Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury position on a Casino for Sudbury. 

Link to Power Point Presentation click here

Link to Open Letter on Casino - Threat to Seniors click here

Friendly to Seniors - Annual Spring Board (and guests) meeting - April 16th 2012

Dr Peter Zalan, chief of the Medical Staff at Health Science North addresses group at Minnow Lake Place, hosted by Minnow Lake CAN.  Besides a presentation on new measures by the hospital directed at improving service to older adults (see video below) discussion centered on general and specific threats to care and curing now and in the future.  Of particular concern the ongoing ALC (Alternative Level of Care) crisis with too many of these individuals in the "system" preventing timely emergency care and acute care functions.  Other areas dealt with included the affordably of our the present funding module and possible alternatives.  Links to further information are below plus comments from a FTS executive member - John Gaul.  Your input is also most welcome.

Caring and Caring in Older Adults click here

Comments by Older Adult at meeting click here.

Jo Anne Derks and John Lindsay visited the Emergency Department at Health Sciences North on June 27th 2012 for an assessment of the facility and provided, according to staff, much valuable insight. 

Friendly to Seniors has taken a leadership role in dealing with the current and ongoing health care crisis in Sudbury.  Our actions in this regard are documented below.   Below Friendly to Seniors member and chair of the local CARP chapter, Patricia Douglas, is shown next to Andrea Horwath, Provincial NDP leader and John Lindsay, chair of Friendly to Seniors next to local MPP France Gelanis.  John together with Friendly to Seniors executive members Norm Gauthier, John Gaul and Vivian Field met with hospital CEO Dr. Roy, David McNeil, director of nursing services, and Dr. Zalan, representing physicians, who have called upon our organization to suggest possible solutions to the ongoing crisis.

At these meetings there was considerable concern expressed with respect to the decision by the local LHIN to close beds and that it was likely that the ALC crisis situation in our health care system will not improve in either the short or long term.

It was generally agreed that the numbers do not “add up”. Currently there are many more than the "manageable amount of 20 ALC individuals at the Ramsey Site of Health Sciences North, at times over 70. At this number the hospital feels it cannot function with any degree of efficiently considering the impact on emergency and acute care. There will soon be only 30 beds available at the Memorial site to take the overflow and these beds are already occupied. Currently there are 30 persons waiting for acute care beds in emergency and other locations in the hospital because of beds occupied by ALC patients.

It is understood that not all those in ALC beds need be there if there were adequate other services in the community, however these services, such as home care and assisted living accommodation, do not practically appear to be in evidence to the extent necessary to alleviate the current crisis situation.

Friendly to Seniors has agreed to work with the local chapter of CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Persons) to develop alternative care services such as available in other communities in an attempt to help solve the present and ongoing situation. The PACE program is one of those that may help.

In the meantime Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on the website

New programs are being introduced by Health Sciences North for Older Adults as explained in the video below

By CAROL MULLIGAN, THE SUDBURY STAR (plus more backgound material follows)

In two months, Sudburians will find out if all of the work done in the last few years to address the shortage of beds and services for the elderly has helped the community turn the corner on the alternate level of care crisis.Health Sciences North issued layoff notices this week to 62 employees who have been caring for patients in 60 interim beds at the former Memorial site. Thirty of 60 beds in the Functional Assessment and Outcome Unit at the Sudbury Outpatient Centre, formerly Memorial, will close March 31, as scheduled. The other 30 will close March 31, 2013.

Hospital and government officials say they are confident Sudbury's health-care system won't bog down even more after the beds are closed.  Others aren't so sure.

The 60 beds are the last of as many as 130 beds the North East Local Health Integration Network was funding at the Memorial site after Sudbury's redeveloped one-site hospital officially opened about two years ago.  The hospital has fewer beds than planners wanted and they said it would only be large enough to serve the community -- and the region -- if it had no ALC patients.

ALC patients are mostly frail, elderly people who end up in hospital or remain there because there is nowhere else for them in the community.

The North East LHIN funded the beds at Memorial while 152 new long-term care beds were being built at Villa St. Gabriel in Chelmsford and at Pioneer Manor.

The number of interim beds was cut to 60 last April after those new beds opened.

Joe Pilon, senior vice-president of Health Sciences North (formerly Sudbury Regional Hospital), said he doesn't think the closure of those 30 beds will affect his hospital's operation to a large degree.

In the last year, the hospital has launched several new ambulatory clinics and day hospitals designed to keep people out of hospital beds while receiving hospital services.  It's a shift that is happening in health care, "and it's the right thing to do," said Pilon.   It is a challenge, he admits, and while that shift is occurring, physicians in the hospital's emergency department and surgical unit are concerned the loss of beds will hurt them and their patients.

Emergency wait times increase and some scheduled surgeries are cancelled when ALC numbers run high.  One elective surgery was cancelled this week because of the ALC situation and 20 people admitted via emergency were lying there Thursday waiting for a bed on a medical floor.

Thursday, the hospital was reporting on its website there were 43 ALC patients in acute-care beds at the main hospital and 61 at the Memorial site.

Louise Paquette, chief executive officer of the North East Local Health Integration Network, said the elderly have made it clear they would rather remain at home, with support, than be in hospital.  All have said the old Memorial site was never an appropriate place for the frail elderly, but it was only ever meant to be a temporary solution.

A committee struck to deal with the ALC crisis, the Sudbury ALC Steering Group, proposed limited-time use of the Memorial for elderly patients while other services were established or expanded in the community.

The North East Community Care Access Centre, the agency responsible for long-term care placements and home care, said the people in the Memor ial beds to be closed are already on its list "for safe and appropriate placement in the community."   They have a priority designation that moves them to top of the waiting list for long-term care. That will, however, "have an impact on other clients currently at home or in a community residence who are also awaiting placement/transfer," said North East CCAC spokeswoman Sandi Campbell.

Dr. Stephen Kosar, president of the Sudbury and District Medical Society, does not share the confidence of health officials that losing 30 beds won't hurt the system.  The society represents about 300 physicians, many of whom are expressing concerns about the bed closures.  Kosar and his members know 30 beds have been scheduled to close -- but he said he is hoping for a stay of execution.   It's a serious subject, but Kosar quipped about the scheduled bed closures: "Maybe the governor will make a call before they walk down the green mile."

The problem is indeed serious as outlined in the article below: 

An article (June 21st 2011) in the Sudbury Star would seem to dispute this:  A direct quote from the story "Hospital administrators and provincial politicians are going to have to show stronger leadership to produce the "seismic shift" in thinking needed to improve wait times and ease bed pressures at Canadian hospitals, says a Sudbury doctor.  Dr. Chris Bourdon, chief of staff at Sudbury Regional Hospital, says it will take creative and innovative thinking -- and putting the focus back on the patient -- to improve timely access to health care services

Bourdon was responding to a report released Tuesday by the Wait Time Alliance, comprised of 14 organizations representing doctors and other health care professionals. The report said high numbers of alternate level of care patients in hospital are seriously affecting emergency department wait times and cancelling elective surgeries" The situation well-known in Sudbury has spread throughout the country so that now one in six hospital beds is occupied by a patient who should be receiving care elsewhere. The report points out that costs $1,200 a day when less expensive, more humane care could be given to seniors at home, in assistive living units or in long-term care. 

Another local doctor Ron Baigrie in a guest column in the Sudbury Star stated that citizens should be more actively concerned about their health care system and "speak out" both individually and collectively as the system needs input from everyone. He warned that there is a danger that health care administration is moving to restrict professionals in the system from speaking out about problems.  This is one of the reasons that Friendly to Seniors is a voice for all of those who are not satisfied with a health care system that could be much better than it is.

Of particular concern in Sudbury is the attitude of the local hospital in assuring the public (even in full page ads) that all is well in the system and many new initiatives are improving services to a substantial degree.  While we applaud some of the new services there still exists an unacceptable level of timely service in the emergency department and too many critical care beds occupied by ALC patients.  While the provincial govt. has provided over 6 million dollars (June 23rd 2011) to keep the Memorial site open for 60 ALC individuals until April of 2012 there is concern that this may not over time offer enough capacity and if this is the case will this unit remain open into the future beyond this projected date.  Only until such time as waiting times in the emergency department are substantially reduced and there is no waiting time for those emergency cases requiring beds should the hospital be satisfied they are providing adequate service.   

Friendly to Seniors has met with representatives of the Community Care Access Centre, The local LHIN, and partiipated in focus groups with Dr. Peter Zalan in dealing with health care issues of particular concern for seniors. Our members continue to be proactive with respect to all matters related to health care both institutional and in the home.  We have meet with local, provincial and federal politicians advocating on behalf of patients and workers in the health care system and are particularity satisfied with our involvement in the Quality Care Alliance that resulted in the province moving to have established a directory of home care workers and work toward recognition of appropriate training and remuneration.  We are urging that in the institutional setting a program of "lean management" be implemented that has proven effective in other health care jurisdictions and "is the best hope for helping deal with the challenge of crushing demand and limited resources".

Past and recent history: 

On Jan. 20th 2011the Hospital together with the CCAC announced that the Memorial site would stay open with a capacity of 75 beds as a "surge" unit and would apply to the Ministry through the LHIN for on-going funding.  Since that time over 4,500 people signed a petition to keep the Transitional site open and the petition was presented to MPP France Gelinas (Health and Long Term Care Critic) who subsequently presented to the provincial govt. in the Ontario legislature.  She is shown below accepting the petitions in Sudbury at TD square from Bill Scott of Friends of Memorial and John Lindsay Chair of Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury.

Video below featuring John Lindsay, head of Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury and John Gaul, Treasurer - 13 minutes - Full half hour program presented on Cable Channel .  For full audio MP3 version click here.  (download could take up to a minute for some computers).



Video below of Tour of Sudbury Regional Hospital Memorial Site - Transitional Care Unit.  Tour by William Scott (has a relative on site) member of the Friends of Memorial Site working to keep this facility open.  No patients or staff were involved in this presentation.


Basis for Advocacy:  Document - Transitional Strategy for Managing Alternative Level of Care Patients (Sudbury Appropriate/Alternative Level of Care Steering Group - Capacity Options - May 27th 2009.)  This report is on the hospital website (click on ALC This Week tab)  This report contains three options all of which include recommendations to operate the Memorial site until January of 2013.    The recommendation specifically states "The LHIN ALC Steering Committee is proposing that utilization of the Memorial site as a transitional location to meet the ongoing Long Term Care needs of the community over a 36 month period starting in January 2010.   


Media Release:                                                                                       Dec. 20th 2010 

Senior Advocacy Group proposal addresses ALC Health Care Issue: 

Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury, says a unique opportunity exists for improving health care in our community for all citizens of any age, but particularity for elderly ALC patients. 

Providing accommodation at the Memorial Transitional Care Site past the proposed closing deadline date (in March 2011) for ALC patients currently at the Regional (Laurentian) site will allow this facility to perform its intended function as an Acute Care institution, freeing up much needed bed space, prevent delays in medical procedures, allow the emergency unit to operate efficiently, improve staff moral, increase efficiency, plus provide greater patient satisfaction and outcomes.   

The matter is discussed in some detail in a half hour Eastlink Cable 10 broadcast which has been edited to a 13 minute YouTube video (attached) featuring the head of Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury, John Lindsay and Treasurer John Gaul.   Additional information is on the organizations website as well as an MP3 audio recording of the full 30 minute broadcast.  The group is to invite others involved to discuss the proposal.   

Contact:  John Lindsay – 525-7526                 John Gaul – 669- 0161 


Note: Videos Below LHINs explained etc.

Special Report – Sudbury Regional Hospital not Friendly to Seniors    -   December 2010 

The Importance of keeping the Memorial Hospital ALC Transitional Care Unit Open. 

If a community is judged by how it treats its less fortunate including the sick and the elderly then we have failed the Alternative Level of Care (ALC) patients who are now and will continue to occupy beds at the Sudbury Regional Hospital.  

Not only do they not receive care they would expect in a regular nursing home, they are now to be denied access to the Transitional Care Unit at the Memorial Site when it is scheduled to close in March of 2011.  This Unit currently provides much of the same care available in a regular nursing home and was set up for this purpose until appropriate accommodation should become available.  This will occur for the approximately 130 ALC patients at this facility when they will move to new nursing home beds in Chelmsford and other locations.   

This, however, does not address the needs of the approximately 50 to 60 ALC patients at the Sudbury Regional Site who are located throughout the hospital taking up beds that would be otherwise available for regular patient care and has resulted in overcrowding in the emergency department plus frequent cancellations and delays in surgeries or other medical procedures.  Medical and support staff have expressed their frustration on numerous occasions as the result of this untenable situation.  Hospital officials had originally requested that the Memorial site remain open for 3 years – it is now scheduled to close after less than a year of operation.  It is reported that discharge times for an ALC patient at the Regional site are in excess of 180 days, while the provincial average is just over 40 days.   

As chair of Friendly to Seniors, an advocacy group and member of the City of Sudbury Seniors Advisory Panel, which has made a motion to keep the Memorial Site open, it was decided to examine in detail the matter to try to make some sense of what many of the professionals involved say is a very complex issue.  As someone who had a relative (mother in law) as a resident of both a non-profit and for-profit nursing home for some time, I am not unfamiliar with these facilities or of the overall situation.  John Gaul, a member of our board – Treasurer, took part in this study.   Our thanks to Dan Lessard, for arrangements and the staff at both hospital locations for taking the time to show us around and explain the programs in place and services provided.   

First a visit to the Memorial Transitional Care Unit where we were most impressed with the renovations to the building to accommodate the ALC patients in an interim setting with excellent care by a skilled and devoted staff.  The goal of the Transitional Care Unit is to maintain the physical and mental health of patients until such time as appropriate nursing home accommodations become available.  It is our opinion that this Unit must continue to fulfill this function.  We dropped by the local LHIN (Health Integration Network) office located at the Memorial site on the first floor and were surprised to learn that officials here apparently had never visited the Unit, for which they had originally authorized funding, located on the floors just above them.  They have stated that the purpose of this unit was only to address the needs of the current 130 residents with no plans for the ALC patients now and in the future at the Sudbury Regional Site, not to mention the estimated 700 to 900 persons identified by the Community Care Access Centre as waiting for nursing home care.   

Then a visit to the Sudbury Regional Hospital Site where it was discovered that the ALC patients in this facility were not located in just one area but were indeed, as stated previously, in beds throughout the hospital, at times even in lounges and other inappropriate areas.  While staff cares for their basic needs they are unable to provide nursing home services to the extent as ALC patients receive at the Memorial Transitional Site.  This was confirmed by both staff and patients.  It is obvious that these ALC individuals at the Regional Site should become residents at the Memorial site until such time as appropriate nursing home accommodation becomes available.  This would also enable the Regional site to do even better work with initiatives now under way including Geriatric Emergency Management, the Long Term Care Residence Emergency Department Outreach Service, the Geriatric and Adult Rehab Day Program and the Elder Life Program.  

Why not keep the Memorial Transitional Care site open – is it a matter of cost?  According to figures supplied by the Hospital it costs between $800 and $1,100 to keep an ALC patient at the Sudbury Regional Site each day.   At the Memorial Transitional Site the cost is between $300 and $350 a day.  It would appear that besides saving a minimum of $450 a day per patient by caring for these patients at the Memorial Site, rather than the Regional site, the hospital would have the use of these beds now and in the future for regular patient care.  

It is said that the ALC matter is very complicated, and that many varied scenarios have to be explored and that ultimately a “community solution” needs to be found.  It is true that we need more home care and supportive housing plus other measures including more nursing home spaces, but they quite simply do not exist to the extent necessary to solve our current crisis.  Until such time as they do, we have a facility, the Memorial Transitional Care Unit that can address this interim need for as long as it takes for the other measures to become reality.  We are doing a disservice to those ALC patients at the Sudbury Regional Site, now and in the future, who will occupy beds that could otherwise serve our community for the purpose for which they were intended, while at the same time denying them the services they could enjoy and deserve at the Memorial Transitional Care Unit.   

Unless we are missing important pieces of the puzzle or there are agendas of which we are not aware it would certainly appear in terms of cost and quality of care plus overall operational efficiency to keep the Memorial Transitional Site open to accommodate Regional hospital ALC patients.  It would be most unfortunate if these sick and mostly older individuals, who are largely without voice or influence, are pawns in an uncaring bureaucratic health care system that gives low priority to their needs.  If this indeed is the case, with an ever increasing and aware senior population, it will not be tolerated for much longer – already senior’s organizations and other interested groups and citizens are mobilizing to address this issue in an attempt to reverse the decision to close the Memorial site.    

John Lindsay,

Chair, Friendly to Seniors – Sudbury

Member, Mayor and Council’s Seniors’ Advisory Panel   

What can you do?   As this appears to be a political issue contact your local councillor, local MPP (provincial) and even your MP (Federal).  Money from all levels of government has and is continuing to be “invested” in our health care system and our local hospital.   Putting “pressure” on all of these individuals is the only way to be able to effect change – change that is obviously very much needed to rectify this situation for the benefit of all.  Do it now, by e-mail and/or letter.  If you are a member of a group or organization, get them to endorse the motion below.   

For the information of Council, the Mayor and Council’s Seniors’ Advisory Panel passed the following motion at a meeting on November 5th, 2010 for consideration by the future Council.


WHEREAS it is reported that the Memorial site will be closed in March of 2011 following the opening of various alternate accommodation for ALC patients currently occupying this facility; 

AND WHEREAS there are and still will be ALC patients at the Sudbury Regional Hospital site requiring accommodation, and that the operation of the Sudbury Regional Hospital is adversely affected by the presence of ALC patients at this facility; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Greater Sudbury enforce recommendations with provincial health care authorities involved that the Memorial site remain open and accept all ALC patients currently at the Sudbury Regional Hospital site until such time as permanent and sustainable alternative accommodations are made available or all community based programming is designed and in place for addressing future ALC issues.


This has been an ongoing problem (crisis) for some time - check this video from 2008 by Dr. Fenton.​nton_talks_about_ALC_Crisis/

Check out this recent video on the LHIN situation



More information and developments will be posted on this site as it become available

Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury

Tel: (705) 920-5177   Fax: (705) 525-4632




CUPE members and supporters at MP Bartolucci office in downtown Sudbury Nov. 24th.

Not only are ALC patients not receiving proper "nursing" home care at the Sudbury Regional Site, they are occupying beds that could and should be used by "regular" patients.  This adversely effects the emergency department and results in cancellations and delays with respect to scheduled medical procedures.  At the Memorial site ALC patients receive the care they deserve while waiting available accommodation at area nursing homes. 

riendly to Seniors Treasurer John Gaul and John Lindsay, President, recently toured the Memorial Transitional Care Unit TLC (as it is called) and were most impressed with the renovations that were undertaken to accommodate the currently 130 ALC residents until they could be moved to available nursing home accommodations.  We encourage anyone interested to visit this clean and obviously well run facility where the well being of residents is uppermost in the minds of the care giving staff.

We have been told that the Local Health Integration Network is currently assessing the situation, however has publically announced that the Memorial TLC unit will be closed in March and staff have received layoff notice.


Friendly to Seniors is a member of the Quality Care Alliance - update below: 

Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury board member Norman Gauthier addressing meeting of Quality Care Alliance working to promote better home care for seniors. (October 2010)

The Challenges of Aging report stressed the need for adequate in-home and intuitional care for those seniors on need of such service.

More information and developments will be posted on this site as it become available

Friendly to Seniors - Sudbury

Tel: (705) 920-5177   Fax: (705) 525-4632




Friendly to Seniors - Board Members

John Lindsay - Chair

Norman Gauthier - Vice Chair

Vivian Field - Vice Chair

Lynne Reynolds

John Gaul

Gordon Jacques

Diane Ikonen

Jan Carrie Stevens

Patricia Douglas

Norman Jacques

Gord Slade

Earnie Checkeris

Dorothy Thompson

Rudy Toffoli

Peter Clark

Marlene Johnson

Bill Scott


Check out our picture gallery.