The Gelfa Long-Term Continued Care and Maintenance Unit was opened on 10 September 2013, initially as a Long-Term Care and Maintenance service. In 2018, because of a conversion of half of its facilities, it also started to hold a Medium-Term Care and Rehabilitation Unit.
The investment in this new structure cost EUR 3,914,925.59, and was co-sponsored by FEDER at EUR 1,763,000.00. This will be the third use of this building in terms of healthcare, which already holds its place in the history of care to the population of Alto-Minho.
Because of its location by the sea and the benefits of the sea breeze, water and sun, the Gelfa Maritime Sanatorium was set up in this complex in mid-1929, which became famous for its treatment of bone tuberculosis.
However, in the 1960s, due to the evolution of treatments and with widespread BCG vaccination coverage allied to a predominant prevention service, this disease was sharply reduced, leading to the closure of sanatoriums, including the Gelfa Maritime Sanatorium.
On 16 January 1963, by Decree no. 44855 of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the building was transferred on a temporary basis by the now extinct Institute for National Care to Tuberculosis patients, IANT, to the Psychiatric Care Institute.
In August 1965, the then Psychiatric Hospital of Gelfa was functionally integrated in the Mental Health Centre of Viana do Castelo with the purpose of providing internment care to female patients with mental illnesses.
Because of the reorganisation of the mental health services in Alto-Minho, the Hospital was closed in 1999 and underwent a remodelling intervention under the responsibility of the General Directorate of Health Facilities and Equipment between 2001 and 2005.
In November 2007, the Board of Directors of Administração Regional de Saúde do Norte, IP (ARSN,IP) invited the St. John of God Institute (ISJD) to reopen the former Psychiatric Hospital of Gelfa as a Continued Care Unit.
The integration of the Unit in the National Integrated Continued Care Network (RNCCI) for the district of Viana do Castelo appears in the annex to Order No. 1408/2008, from the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity and Ministry of Health of 11 January and in the annex to Order No. 3730/2011, from the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity and Ministry Health of 25 February. This Unit belongs to St. Joseph Health Centre located in Areias de Vilar, Barcelos.