By Carson Ellis For the Independent
The Stettler Chronic Convalescent Hospital, opened in late 1954, was one of the first of its kind at the time. To have built such a facility gave the town and county of Stettler the reputation of being truly forward thinking in regards to the issue of an ageing population, which was becoming an increasing concern across the country.
The $250,000 facility was built from a $154,000 debenture from the town and county, as well as provincial and federal grants. It was built in a sort of ‘Z’ shape with a long hallway separating the men’s wing from the women’s. A 20-member staff included: two cooks, two cleaning women, two laundry workers as well as three nurses, and eight nursing aids. The hospital also benefited from its Matron Mrs. Edith Postell who had 13 years of experience at Stettler’s nationally renowned Municipal Hospital.
The list of special features the facility demonstrated were all rather impressive at the time of the hospital’s construction and were just some of the impressive traits that brought community representatives from all across the province to visit the modern hospital. Each wing had 11 rooms with four of them being double occupancy rooms while the remaining seven were single occupancy rooms. Each room was noted as being distinctive with their varying colour schemes and furnishings. Each wing was had especially elevated bathtubs, allowing safe and convenient access from stretcher beds if necessary. Not forgetting, of course, the sunroom-library that was generously furnished by the Stettler Lions Club.
Although the hospital was designed and built as a way to help alleviate a pressing problem, it was not built without considering the problem from a long term standpoint. The first phase of the convalescent hospital was designed for an additional wing to be added on and easily be serviced by the existing phase.