Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation hosts the annual Dragon Ball Gala, one of Toronto's largest gala dinners to raise money for the centre.
The Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, formerly the Chinese Community Nursing Home for Greater Toronto, came about when Dr. Joseph Wong witnessed the lack of emotional support and difficulty in communicating for Chinese seniors within mainstream medical facilities. In 1987, Dr. Wong, spearheading the cause, gathered a group of thirty Chinese Canadian friends who shared his vision of building a nursing home to care for parents and grandparents with respect and dignity in their last years.
The group took action with little more than their drive and determination to succeed. They realized that the job ahead would be arduous, but their commitment was unswerving. It was imperative for the aging population to be able to live in comfort and dignity in their remaining years, and it would take a nursing home attuned to the values and traditions of the Chinese culture to achieve that.
They realized that others within the community - one which has always revered and honoured its elderly - shared the same vision. Thousands answered their call - donating their time and organizing fundraising events that were supported at a grassroots level. Such enthusiasm is a major factor in the continuing success of Yee Hong - an attitude that one must give back to the community and that no challenge is too great to overcome.
The group maintains a mandate to provide leadership and vision in developing culturally and linguistically appropriate services for seniors of Chinese origin. It has now established itself as the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation. Since 1990, the Dragon Ball has been its main fundraising event aiding in the creation of an overwhelmingly successful community for seniors.
The Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care started as an idea; fostered a dream and became a shining reality. There, seniors and their families have the opportunity to be cared for, to socialize, interact, develop new skills and learn about health issues that may affect them in their twilight years. Everyone is welcome.
The Yee Hong Centre was officially opened in October 1994. All along, the board members, the staff and the volunteers adopted the approach of doing better than the best. There is an enhanced level of nursing care, an attention to the little details, creativity in fundraising and great pride in being able to serve the numerous seniors who call the Centre home. The Centre applied to the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation, and was awarded a three-year accreditation in June 1996, its 20th month of operation - certainly no small feat for such a young organization. Constantly striving for excellence, it is obvious that all involved with the Centre are proud of their association and work tirelessly to improve its operations.
In November 1996, just two years after the Centre's Grand Opening, an ambitious $8 million Expansion Campaign was launched to add two floors with 65 more beds to the existing Nursing Home and extra Day Care Program space. The expansion was completed and most importantly the first resident, who has been on the waiting list since 1994, was admitted on June 14, 1999.
Thus it was another crowning moment in December 1999 when the Council awarded another three-year accreditation to the just expanded facility. It praised Yee Hong for providing "stellar care" to elderly members of the Chinese population in Scarborough. It found Yee Hong to be so perfect that "No recommendations have been made herein." An amazing ringing endorsement from a national body that scrutinizes and gives accreditation to health facilities all over the country!
Located on a site in the heart of Scarborough's Chinese community, the first Centre at Scarborough McNicoll boasts a nursing home with a specialized Alzheimer's unit and long-term care facility that was honoured thrice as Grand Prize winner of the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) Occupational Health and Safety Week Competition since 1997. It also marked the third consecutive time Yee Hong has been accredited by the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation in 2003. With 155 beds at present in Scarborough McNicoll, the K.C. Poon Nursing Home is also connected to a Medical Centre and a Rehabilitation Centre. All of the Centre's staff are fluently bilingual in both English and Chinese and are familiar with the traditions of the Chinese culture.
The Centre includes a Seniors Community Centre which offers a number of social and daycare activities as well as community outreach, drop-in programs and meals-on-wheels. The Macrobian Club, Yee Hong's seniors social club which operates within the Seniors Community Centre, received the Certificate of Recognition from the Board of Health of the City of Scarborough. One of the Centre's other impressive accomplishments is the non-profit housing complex - the Aw Chan Kam Chee Evergreen Manor - featuring 130 apartments and 26 family townhouses. It was awarded the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association's Award for Excellence in 1997. In high demand, there is a waiting list of approximately couple of thousands who would like acceptance. Many of the residents have also become dedicated volunteers with the Centre as a way of giving back to the community.
The Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care has become a model community that others love to emulate. It has been hailed as a model of co-operative effort between the government and the community and delegates from around the world have come to tour the critically acclaimed facilities to deepen their understanding of how such a complex works. It is the perfect mix of East and West - using the best in Western resources and blending it with the values and traditions of Eastern culture. The Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care has proven its dedication to providing the best care possible for seniors and has garnered numerous awards of excellence and commendation as a result.
With the Expansion Campaign successfully accomplished, Yee Hong has spread its renowned brand of high quality care to communities in other regions and to other seniors. In 1998 and 2001, recognizing Yee Hong's excellent service, the Ministry of Health awarded Yee Hong Centre a total of 715 bed licences, the largest such allocation to a non-profit organization in the history of Ontario.
The Yee Hong Centre Capital Campaign was embarked upon in April 1999 to build three new Yee Hong Centres with 200 beds each in Markham and Mississauga and 250 in the new Scarborough Finch centre. These centres will provide the top quality services that others have endeavoured to equal. Always cognizant of those in dire needs, Yee Hong will extend its services to non-Chinese seniors, particularly those of the South Asian, Filipino and Japanese communities. While all three centres will contain an Alzheimer unit, each has its unique features. A child care centre will exist side by side with the senior day care centre in the Markham and Mississauga sites with their location in relatively young communities. The Scarborough Finch Centre will accommodate a 5-bed dialysis unit, the first one of its kind to be based in a nursing home. A separate 10-bed Hospice Care Center unit within the complex is being planned.
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