The Yee Hong Story
How It All Started
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 30 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 a caring community for seniors.
The Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care started as an idea; fostered a dream and became a shining reality. In this community, seniors and their families have the
opportunity to be cared for, to socialize, interact, develop new skills and learn about health issues that may effect them in their twilight years. Everyone
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!
Continuum of Care
Located on a 4.2 acre 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.
Model of Excellence
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 the 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. Officially opened in 2002, 2003 and 2004 respectively, these Centres provide the top quality services that others have endeavoured to equal.
Always cognizant of those in dire needs, Yee Hong has extended its services to non-Chinese seniors, particularly those from the South Asian, Filipino and
Japanese communities. While all three Centres contain an Alzheimer unit, each has its unique features. The Scarborough Finch Centre will accommodate
a 12-bed dialysis unit, the first of its kind to be based in a nursing home. A separate 10-bed Hospice Care Center unit within the
complex is being planned.
In addition to the above short description, the following are of notable significance that distinguishes Yee Hong as an organization extremely worthy of
- Forward looking with a vision.
- Accountable: In the history of Yee Hong, we have been guided by our vision and we fulfil our mission with careful planning.
The community is well informed of our goal. Extremely prudent with the donation dollars, we have always delivered what we have promised to
our supporters and donors and more.
- Responsive to the critical needs of community, e.g. innovative community-based hospice care services
(known as Cancer and Palliative Care Services) was offered from June 1997 to November 2007 by the Yee Hong Scarborough McNicoll Centre. A team of four
caring and compassionate palliative medicine physicians deliver care to the terminally ill patients and their families in their own homes. The same
team also responds to medical emergencies of the patients 24 hours each day. Over 3,500 patients and families have been served. All express deep
appreciation for such innovative caring services which help to reduce the physically and spiritually traumatic experience and maintain their dignity and
peace at the final stage of the patients' lives.
- Innovative, e.g. Villa Elegance, a condominium designed jointly by Tridel and Yee Hong for seniors with the provision of
support services. It illustrates how a charitable organization worked together with a business to meet the housing needs of its seniors. Another example is
Yee Hong Garden Terrace, a life lease community adjacent to the Yee Hong Scarborough Finch Centre, which provides services to seniors under
a non-profit making principle.
- Well recognized by the provincial government and the media, e.g. the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care officials are proud to refer
delegates and media to look at Yee Hong as the shining example and the model of continuum of care for seniors. The May 31, 1999 Time
magazine article gave Yee Hong a full page of pictorial coverage in its Special Report: Canada 2005. Yee Hong is well covered in both the mainstream and Chinese media.
- Thousands of volunteers have committed an enormous amount of time to our cause. The Yee Hong Centre may be the only
organization that has a waiting list of volunteers. Many Yee Hong volunteers have received awards that recognize their invaluable services
to the community.