As we near the two-year anniversary of the opening of the expanded Rest Haven in Steinbach, the personal care home is still not full. However, a spokesperson for HavenGroup says that is because they are still in the process of hiring enough staff to safely operate the 143-bed facility at full capacity.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on May 13, 2022, following more than two and a half years of construction. Even though the expansion was complete, that did not mean that Rest Haven was able to immediately fill all the rooms. HavenGroup said from day one that it would be some time yet before all beds would be occupied, noting that the expansion required the hiring of at least 150 new staff.

Tannis Nickel is Chief Executive Officer for HavenGroup. She says as of today there are about 100 residents living at Rest Haven. Nickel says the biggest reason why the other 43 beds are not yet occupied is because of staffing.

"The admission process to Rest Haven, it's a regional process, it takes time, and it takes staff," explains Nickel.

She says Rest Haven today has more than 200 staff and notes they are fortunate to have the employees they have. But Nickel says more staff are needed before they can fill all the homes.

Nickel explains that Rest Haven consists of 12 homes. Each of the homes, except for one, has 12 resident rooms. One of the homes has two bariatric rooms, and as a result, has only 11 resident rooms.

Nickel says each home then consists of everything that a resident needs for daily living, including a kitchen, pantry, dining room, living room, large patio and laundry room. Thanks to support from local churches, residents can also watch activities or services happening in the chapel from either their room or the home's living room.

According to Nickel, there are two homes on the main floor of Rest Haven that are vacant.

"Basically, due to staffing," she says. "And to ensure that we have safe admissions to the level of staffing that we have in the facility."

Nickel says admissions to Rest Haven is a well-thought-out process to determine where in the building a new resident should live, and which home would be a good community for that individual.

"It's a timing process as well," she points out. "We have an admission team at Rest Haven that looks at the current needs of the home and the current staffing levels and then we admit accordingly."

In order to open up to their 143-bed capacity, Nickel says they need approximately 16 certified health care aides and about eight to 10 Licensed Practical Nurses. The application process can be found on HavenGroup's website.

Meanwhile, Nickel says they have a huge team but a great one at Rest Haven. She notes they have a positive culture at the personal care home thanks to their collaborative team. Nickel says their team includes nurses who provide medications and physicians performing their rounds. It includes resident assistants who look after the home and the chaplain who provides daily devotions. There are also social workers on-site who take care of any concerns that might come up as well as the maintenance, laundry and daily life departments. And then, of course, their volunteers.

"It's just a wonderful group of staff," says Nickel. "It's a great place to work, a great place to live."