Tbaytel Tamarack House is evolving. Traditionally available only to patients receiving cancer treatment at Regional Cancer Care Northwest at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, we are now opening its doors to more patients.
Tbaytel Tamarack House provides affordable accommodations for patients from regional communities who are in Thunder Bay to receive health care at the Hospital. Over the years, hundreds of cancer patients have benefitted from the welcoming environment, facilities and emotional support found at Tbaytel Tamarack House.
“Thanks to a new development, we can extend those experiences to more patients while also supporting the financial viability of Tbaytel Tamarack House,” said Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President, Patient Services and Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario.
Demand for rooms fluctuates seasonally. Although the facility is full at times, rooms are often vacant. The facility has been operating with an annual occupancy of between just 50 to 65%. Low occupancy rates have impacted our revenues and the financial viability of the lodge. As a result, it has been subsidized with Hospital operational funds. Those same funds are required to support direct patient care, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and many other services.
Across the province, several lodges like Tbaytel Tamarack House have closed because they were no longer financially viable. To avoid a similar fate, we are identifying strategies to operate the lodge in a fiscally responsible way so that patients can continue to access this wonderful facility. One strategy has resulted in a partnership agreement with a sister agency, Wequedong Lodge, located in Thunder Bay. This arrangement allows Tbaytel Tamarack House to increase occupancy, and also supports Wequedong Lodge to alleviate chronic over capacity at their facility.
Maintaining the spirit of Tbaytel Tamarack House, accommodations will be prioritized for cancer patients. Available rooms will be provided to other patients as required. To put this strategy into action, an ethics framework will be applied, along with consultation with Patient Family Advisors.
“This is a win-win scenario. It’s also good news for donors. Their generosity will now touch even more lives than before,” Henderson said. “Donors who supported Tbaytel Tamarack House in the past, and those who contribute in the future, can celebrate the increased impact of their gifts.”
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