AHS ex­pands sup­port­ive liv­ing units at Drumheller Health Cen­tre

The Drumheller Mail - - Front Page - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Al­berta Health Ser­vices is ex­pand­ing its con­tin­u­ing care op­tions at the Drumheller Health Cen­tre by re­des­ig­nat­ing eight long-term beds to sup­port­ive liv­ing.

The changes will be made this fall to fill the gap in the area’s mix of op­tions.

“This change broad­ens the op­tions for com­mu­nity mem­bers look­ing for the right level of con­tin­u­ing care. It also im­proves the way we de­liver safe and sus­tain­able care at the Drumheller Health Cen­tre,” says AHS Se­nior Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Al­lan Sin­clair.

He ex­plains these beds will be for in­di­vid­u­als who can no longer live safely at home due to com­plex but pre­dictable med­i­cal needs that can be man­aged with on­site, pro­fes­sional nurs­ing un­der the di­rec­tion of a case man­ager. These beds are des­ig­nated as Sup­port­ive Liv­ing 4 (SL4), the high­est level of sup­port­ive liv­ing care.

The to­tal num­ber of beds re­mains the same at 96. There are 88 in the long-term care and eight in the Coal­banks (SL4) unit. Sin­clair says cur­rently there are SL3 units at the lodges and many long term care beds at the Drumheller Health Cen­tre, but no SL4 in the val­ley.

“What we’re are work­ing to do is make the ra­tios of the long term care and SL4 beds a lit­tle more ap­pro­pri­ate, be­cause the ma­jor­ity of se­niors that are be­ing as­sessed for care needs these days, the ma­jor­ity or at least 50 per cent are be­ing as­sessed for that SL4, we need that level of care,” he said.

With the changes, there will not be SL4 –de­men­tia des­ig­nated beds in the val­ley.

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease fol­low­ing the tran­si­tion, the Drumheller Health Cen­tre will still have 88 long-term care beds for pa­tients with un­pre­dictable com­plex care needs, as well as four restora­tive care beds for pa­tients try­ing to re­gain in­de­pen­dence fol­low­ing ill­ness or in­jury.

“The restora­tive beds have been there for about three years. They are near the acute unit, and are not af­fected by this. These are for pa­tients that have about a 30-day stay or less, have a need for more in­ten­sive ther­apy and… we have a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion that the client is con­fi­dent, mo­ti­vated, and will im­prove over that 30-day span,” said Sin­clair.

The num­ber of con­tin­u­ing care spa­ces over­all re­mains un­changed. No one will have to leave the health fa­cil­ity as a re­sult of this change.

Town Coun­cil­lor Tom Zariski serves on the Drumheller and District Se­niors Foun­da­tion which op­er­ates the lodges and manors. He told the Mail ear­lier this year they re­ceived a com­mit­ment from Al­berta Se­niors and Hous­ing to build a unit with sup­port­ive liv­ing.

“The prior gov­ern­ment in­di­cated to us they had in­ten­tions on build­ing a SL4 fa­cil­ity ba­si­cally at­tached to Hil­lview to the tune of $7 mil­lion, prior to the elec­tion,” he said.

He has not heard any fur­ther de­tails on the plan to build.

He does not see much change with the re­des­ig­na­tion of the beds, as cur­rently, the Drumheller Health Cen­tre serves those with SL4 needs.

“I’m not sure what the dif­fer­ence would be,” he said.

His ques­tion is whether the new SL4 project is off the ta­ble.

The Mail has reached out to Al­berta Se­niors and Hous­ing but has had no re­sponse as of press time.

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