Residents awaiting government approval for made-in-Sundre solution to long-term care

Sundre has come up with a plan to save hospital beds and keep long-term care in its community.

Sundre has come up with a plan to save hospital beds and keep long-term care in its community.

Now residents are awaiting government approval.

In April, Alberta Health Services announced it was closing the 15 long-term care beds at Sundre Hospital and Care Centre to the dismay of the community.

AHS said the beds would be replaced with 40 level-four supportive-living beds — the highest care level in supportive living — at Mountain View Seniors’ Housing opening this summer. Sundre hospital was to remain open with its 15 acute-care beds.

Last week the Sundre Hospital Futures Committee, made up of community members and health professionals, revealed its made-in-Sundre plan for 15 long-term care beds — five would remain long-term care beds, four would become restorative care beds, and three beds would be available for other care that’s required, like palliative or respite, depending on what’s needed in the community.

Three long-term care beds would be closed as planned to expand lab services at the hospital to meet certification requirements.

Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon said support was overwhelming when the committee revealed its plan at a crowded public meeting held May 5.

“What I like about this solution is it’s being developed by medical professionals and the people that actually utilize the facility. It’s a real community-based plan,” Nixon said on Thursday.

The plan does what residents wanted — to keep the whole hospital open and keep long-term care in Sundre, he said.

He said the 15 long-term care beds were scheduled to close at the end of June so time is running out and he hoped to see steps taken in the next few weeks.

Nixon said he spoke to Health Minister Sarah Hoffman earlier this week about the plan.

Hoffman said she saw the proposal when she met with Sundre Hospital Futures Committee members in April.

“I think it has some good elements and I encouraged them to consult with the broader community. Fundamentally, I want a solution that the community can get behind, and I think this moves us in that direction,” Hoffman said.

“We have some more work to do on the details, and I want to be clear, this is not a take it or leave it situation. The people of Sundre can be confident I am committed working with them to keep the hospital open and providing patients with the right level of care.”

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