More than 15,000 visits were made to the Advanced Ambulatory Care Service in Sylvan Lake during its first year.
The service opened last June to treat urgent, but non-life-threatening conditions.
“We are here for injuries like minor cuts or burns, muscle and joint sprains, and bone fractures. Illnesses such as fever in young children, vomiting, dehydration or minor allergic reactions are also great examples of when to use AACS,” said Carmen Petersen, director of emergency services and inpatient medicine at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
She said the service is intended for things that come on suddenly that normally could be looked at in a doctor’s office, but require immediate attention. Emergencies like heart attacks and strokes still need to go to a hospital emergency department.
Located at the Sylvan Lake Community Heath Centre at 4602 49th Ave., the centre operates seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and has lab and diagnostic imaging services.
Sylvan Lake and nearby communities had campaigned for improved local health care for seven years before the service opened its doors.
Petersen said the number of patients has leveled off. Volume is fairly consistent, but it will be interesting to see what the summer brings now that more people are aware of the service. During the summer visitors from beyond the region make use of the service when they are in the Sylvan Lake area.
Much of the medical equipment to support the service was made possible through the Sylvan Lake Urgent Care Committee, which has donated more than $238,000.
“Over the past year I have heard many positive stories from patients who have used the Advanced Ambulatory Care Service,” said Susan Samson, committee chair.
“Those patients were enthusiastic about the quality, efficiency, and ease of access to this very important service. Without the support of our neighbouring partner communities, our doctors, our donors and Alberta Health Services, we could not have had this medical service.”