Kiknu, which means “our home” in Mi’kmaq, will be Nova Scotia’s first long term care home on a First Nation community. It will be home to 48 community elders who will continue to be surrounded by Mi’kmaq culture and traditions.

Philosophy of Service

Fundamental to Kiknu is the belief that residents who call it home will have a say in the care they receive. They will make their own decisions about their quality of life and wellbeing, including the kind of food served, the activities that take place and even overall operations. As much as possible, they will also receive care and service in their language of choice. This is called “resident-directed” care.


This new home for elders will offer holistic health care and services that reflect First Nations culture, values and attitudes. It allows residents to live comfortably with dignity. Kiknu will have private rooms and washrooms, 24-hour care and service by on-site health professionals, a designated space for palliative care, laundry service, an on-site salon/barber and internet and cable in each room.

Community Consultation

Kiknu will be designed with space to welcome the greater community. A central gathering space will be available and act as a community hub, providing resources, programs and opportunities for engagement that will keep elders connected to their community. Some ideas being considered are having a community liaison, community partnerships and a regular newsletter.

Quality of Life, Wellness and Safety

Ensuring a residents-first approach to care and service will ensure Kiknu is supporting independence, promoting dignity and placing value on the choices for how elders want to live their lives. Mi’kmaq language will be spoken in the home. There are plans to hold language and sensitivity training, and building signage will be bilingual. There will be a small common area where cultural elements can be showcased and enjoyed by everyone in the communityraditional food options will be incorporated into the menu based on resident preferences.

The home will also operate in a manner that protects the health and safety of residents, employees, families, volunteers and the general public. Consistent with operating policies and procedures developed by subject-matter experts and clinical leaders in long term care and approved by the Department of Seniors and Long Term Care.

Social Activities

There will be plenty of recreation and rehabilitation services for elders who live at Kiknu, including daily activities and programs, celebrations and physical activities that will be developed based on the preferences of residents. Mi’kmaq culture and traditions will be incorporated into all activities, such as singing, drumming, storytelling and gardening.

Building Design

Mi’kmaq culture has been a primary consideration in the building design, which is intended to reflect the art, crafts and ceremonies of the Mi’kmaq people blended with the safest and most advanced design for long term care. This includes a traditional building structure located on beautiful, landscaped grounds featuring a garden and/or a wigwam. Eskasoni family trees or clans will be featured on the walls, and a warm and inviting atmosphere with plenty of seating for both residents and visitors will be offered throughout the home.

A Partnership with Shannex

Shannex will act as an operating partner, alongside the First Nations community of Eskasoni, in the development of this new home. Shannex will manage the development of the home overseeing the construction, preparedness, operations and management. Eskasoni will collaborate on design, programming and staffing to ensure a care program and home environment is developed that reflects the values and attitudes of our greater community.

Community Consultation

As the first long term care home on a First Nation community in Nova Scotia, it was important to incorporate feedback from Eskasoni elders and Band Council on what they would like to see come to life for the new home.
All feedback has been integrated into the planning and development of Kiknu. Following are some important themes heard from the community through the consultation.

Meet Kiknu’s Site Manager

Terrance (Terry) Bernard, R.N., is a life-long resident of the Eskasoni First Nations community. Terry’s cultural upbringing was rooted in Mi’kmaw traditions and fluency in the Mi’kmaq language, combined with his passion for improving the lives of elders, is a natural fit for his role as Site Manager for Kiknu, Nova Scotia’s first long term care home located on a first nations community.

While providing respite care for a close family member, Terry realized his calling to pursue a career in nursing. He graduated in 2015 with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Cape Breton University. Before joining Shannex, Terry worked for the Eskasoni Health Centre, Home and Community Care and Foot Care.

Currently, Terry is working at Harbourstone Enhanced Care in Sydney, Nova Scotia as a Community Manager while also working closely with the development team at Kiknu. Terry believes providing the elders with the physical and cultural care they need and deserve is what he is meant to do.

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