The history of the nursing home
Foyer Ste-Élizabeth is governed by a Board of Directors made up of 10 to 15 members, from the rural community of Haut-Madawaska: districts of Saint-François, Clair, Baker Brook and Saint-Hilaire, as well as the Municipality of Lac Baker.
1944- 1951 Hospice Ste-Élizabeth
Founded in Baker Brook, Hospice Ste-Élizabeth is a charitable hospital society for seniors and the less fortunate of the Madawaska County. Located in St-Hilaire, not far from the parish church, it was originally a large house that provided shelter to elderly people with no means of support, at the respective parishes’ expense. The Madawaska County Board transferred the society to Baker Brook. After two years, Mr. and Mrs. Joachin Thériault could no longer operate the facility. The Grey Nuns of Montreal agree to the request of Madawaska citizens and Father Wilfrid Lagacé. However, the arrival of the Sisters of Charity, the Grey Nuns of Montreal in Baker Brook was no coincidence. The presence of this religious community had been requested in the region for twenty-five (25) years. The Madawaska County Board lays the foundation for the work undertaken by the sisters several years later. The founding group is made up of four (4) Sisters of Charity, Grey Nuns of Montreal. Three of these sisters are natives of the region: Sister Marie Picard, Sister Orhéna Daigle and Sister Éléonore Clair. Their Mother Superior is Sister Irène Gauthier. The work undertaken by the sisters would continue for forty (40) years.
The sisters arrived in Baker Brook on Wednesday, July 26, 1944. They purchased Mrs. Xavier Cyr’s house, which they transformed into a hospice. Hospice Ste-Élizabeth was officially opened and blessed at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 24, 1944. His Excellency Mgr. Camile-André LeBlanc, Bishop of Bathurst, of which Madawaska was part at the time, presided the ceremony.
The Hospice began modestly by housing 20 beneficiaries, giving precedence to the poor. Seniors could only have access on the express condition that they didn’t take the place of the poor. In 1950, an additional building was added. It was opened on April 15, 1951 and officially blessed on Sunday, July 8, 1951. Hospice Ste-Élizabeth has since become Foyer Ste-Élizabeth, a 50-bed nursing home.
1951 - 1984 Foyer Ste-Élizabeth
Throughout the years, Foyer Ste-Élizabeth saw a change in its clientele to meet the needs of the community. After several years, the sisters agree to house beneficiaries even if they fall ill. For an elderly person, there is safety in knowing that they will always have their bed at the nursing home, even if they need to be hospitalized.
However, with the increasing number of level III seriously ill patients (with diminishing autonomy), the home requires an upgrade based on the standards of the Department of Health. More and more specialized equipment is required to help workers care for those beneficiaries. The sisters must make significant changes to the building, including the installation of sprinklers.
The upgrade requires a significant financial contribution. The decision is made to build a new building. In 1981, a provisional committee was formed. In July 1981, a Board of Directors made up of members of the community and the Grey Nuns of Montreal incorporate Foyer Ste-Élizabeth Inc. The incorporation of this non-for-profit organization took place on August 13, 1981, under the Companies Act, Chapter C-13 of the Revised Statutes of 1973.
The construction of the new building began on November 1st, 1982 and, on February 15, 1984, the residents move into the new nursing home. The Grey Nuns leave the Baker Brook region and the new nursing home is under lay administration. This concludes forty (40) years of the Grey Nuns’ active presence in Baker Brook.
1984 - Today Foyer Ste-Élizabeth
Today, Foyer Ste-Élizabeth Inc. is a 26,890 square foot one-story long-term care facility. The 50-bed nursing home includes fifteen double rooms and twenty private rooms. The nursing home is located on Rue des Ormes, not far from the Baker Brook recreational facilities.
The interior of the building provides plenty of space for activities, free movement of residents and employee workspace.
All services are located on the same floor. The construction is very modern, and the concept of the nursing home was designed according to the site. The building design was created based on the orientation of the sun and the access road.
Public areas (living room, activity room and main entrance) are south-facing. The parking lot isn’t located in front of the main entrance so as not to block the sun. The parking lot as well as the employee entrance are located on the north side of Rue des Ormes. This was done to facilitate building access for delivery trucks and employees.
Bedrooms and activity rooms are separate from the administration and services. Residents can walk around freely without disturbing the work of the maintenance staff. Each bedroom is linked to the central station through a call button system. The central nurses’ station is located at the center of the three wings. The proximity of services and clientele served contribute to the family atmosphere.
The nursing home is equipped with an electrical heating system combined with a heat recovery system. Air conditioning units were also installed in living and activity rooms, as well as in the administrative sections.