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Health Sciences


Relocation among older adults, either from their home to a long term care (LTC) facility or between facilities, has been studied since the early 1960s. The earliest studies focused on resident mortality while more recent papers have included other outcomes such as functional ability, depression, behavioral symptoms and general health and well-being.

Castle reviewed 78 studies measuring the impact of relocation. The vast majority of studies found no significant positive or negative effects of relocation. However, these studies were limited by sample size, equivocal time frames for outcome measurements and the lack of control groups.(1). Although the topic has clear relevance to Canadian LTC and complex continuing care (CCC) facilities, the Canadian literature is sparse.(2-4)

St. Joseph’s Hospital and Home has been providing care for the people of Guelph since 1861. Planning began for a new building in 1994 and at that time, the decision was made to change the focus of the services provided. The acute care portion of the staff and services were divested in 2001 to the Guelph General Hospital. In October 2002, residents, staff and volunteers moved into the new facility located on the existing property. The new 254-bed facility, known as St. Joseph’s Health Centre (SJHC), includes LTC, complex continuing care and rehabilitation inpatient services as well as several outpatient programs.

The current study attempted to broaden the understanding of relocation from the perspectives of residents, families and staff at SJHC. Several characteristics of this project made it unique. For example, it took place within a Canadian context, used both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, included families and staff and included questions to elicit a set of recommendations for other facilities preparing for a similar move.


This article was originally published in Stride, 2005(3): 21-25. Reproduced with permission