Riverview Health Centre is known for its ability to change with the times. Over the years, it has not only responded to the health care needs of the day, but it has also anticipated the needs of the future. The result was, and continues to be, ongoing development and updating of indispensable programs for Manitobans.
The facility was founded in 1911 by the City of Winnipeg as the Winnipeg Municipal Hospital. Two buildings, the King Edward Memorial Hospital (1911) and the King George Hospital (1914) were considered at the time to be the most modern hospitals in the world for the care of people with communicable diseases, such as typhoid fever, diphtheria, small pox and tuberculosis.
Riverview gained international prominence for the services it provided to victims of poliomyelitis during a tragic epidemic in 1953 (two years before the discovery of the Salk Vaccine). Doctors and nurses at Riverview worked around the clock to care for both adults and children, many of whom were confined to iron lungs. A number of polio patients from that epidemic still live at the Centre today and proudly refer to Riverview as their home.
As the incidence of infectious diseases started to decline, Riverview turned its attention to providing long term care to an increasingly aging population. Plans turned to action when, in 1950, the Princess Elizabeth Hospital opened as the first long term care facility in Canada.
By the 1960s, the Centre specialized in the treatment of such diseases as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cancer and postpoliomyelitis. Even then, its goal was modern in its realm: to tailor the programs to the patient in order to restore and preserve the dignity, happiness and physical independence of the individual.
In 1983, the first purpose-built day hospital was built. The availability of this facility’s programs enables elderly people to remain living at home instead of being admitted to hospital.
The facility became known as Riverview Health Centre in 1993, when it separated from the City of Winnipeg to be incorporated as a community hospital. Then, in 1995, construction began on a comprehensive renewal project, which entailed the demolition of the turn-of-the-century hospital buildings to make way for a new complex.
Today, Riverview Health Centre is a 387-bed rehabilitation and long term care facility that offers progressive programming for patients and residents in both hospital and personal care home units. Its redeveloped complex is one of the first of its kind to incorporate a residential design on an all encompassing scale. The home-like, nurturing space supports, enhances and complements patients’ healing and care.
Riverview Health Centre has maintained continuous accredited services since 1924. The Centre has accomplished this because those committed to its mission had the ability to adapt and change. Past administrators were not only responsive to the health care needs of the day, but they also anticipated and planned for the needs of the future.
The legacy continues…