New Transportation Vehicle Connects Patients to Community

Villa Caritas is the largest provider of acute geriatric mental health services in the province, serving 150 seniors with complex mental and medical health issues. It’s not a permanent residence, but a place to assess, treat and stabilize patients before transitioning them back to the most appropriate care setting in the community.


There are many patients coming and going on a daily basis – to appointments, recreational outings, or transferring to other facilities – and a necessity for the facility is a reliable patient transport vehicle, which it did not have.


“The vehicle we had previously just wasn’t properly suited to our needs,” says Scott Aylwin, Senior Director of Operations, Mental Health. “It required frequent repairs; we were always cancelling appointments and outings at the last minute, or paying for taxis, which gets expensive. It only had a ramp for wheelchairs, which is challenging especially in winter. It was so big that our driver, Sam, often couldn’t fit under building entrance overhangs, which meant he had to drop staff and patients farther away from their destination than necessary.”


Covenant Foundation committed the funds to purchase a new transfer and shuttle vehicle, which is a great boon for staff and patients.


“Everyone is very pleased, especially Sam, who is a long-standing employee here at Villa Caritas. He was integral in choosing our new vehicle,” says Aylwin. “It accommodates five wheelchairs and five additional people, whether staff or patients. It has backup cameras, GPS, a wheelchair lift, which is a great safety feature for us, and a modular flooring design, which means we have flexibility in how we load and securely seat our patients.”

Beyond a more reliable means of transportation, the new vehicle improves quality of life for patients. They will enjoy more public activities and outings, which creates an excitement and sense of hope as they transition back into the community. As they approach discharge and to make the transition easier, they are usually taken to their new care setting to familiarize themselves with the new environment.


The new van helps staff to better attend to their tasks, as well. Medical appointments will remain on schedule without having to cancel. Most importantly, staff can reliably plan for outings such as personal shopping and errands. These excursions let patients enjoy independence, but also helps staff to assess the seniors’ abilities to function in real world settings, and determine how close they are to transitioning out of Villa Caritas.


“Our staff are excited. It’s much more than a van, it’s an opportunity to make everyone’s days smoother, with less hassle and less stress.”