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.