There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted healthcare across the province.
In order to help minimize impacts and ensure quality care for patients in the Stettler region, particularly where it comes to palliative care, Stettler Hospice Society, Points West Living and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have been meeting regularly.
One area that has been particularly hard on Points West, AHS, and the province as a whole, has been staffing challenges.
“After being unable to find appropriately trained staff, Points West Living paused admissions to their supportive living community in December 2021, impacting the hospice suite at the site, which is supported by the Stettler Hospice Society,” noted a joint statement released by Stettler Hospice Society, Points West Living, and AHS.
“Unfortunately, staff recruitment and retention is a challenge across Alberta, especially in rural and remote communities, so this issue is not unique to Points West Living Stettler.”
The release, dated April 14, notes that recruitment efforts are ongoing and all partners hope to re-establish full services “as soon as safe for clients and staff.”
Until things are fully operational, individuals or families requesting palliative and end-of-life care can be assessed by contacting the AHS Continuing Care Access Centre at 1-855-371-4122.
Points West Living, AHS and Stettler Hospice each continue to work in team to provide support to clients.
Points West Living provides 24/7 client care and supportive living environments with personal care provided by healthcare aides and licensed practial nurses.
AHS provides Home Care and planning through registered nurses or a contract provider.
Stettler Hospice Society continues to provide accomodation, whether at Points West Living, or elsewhere, at no cost to clients thanks to community donations and trained volunteers who support clients and families.
Hospice volunteers can also support families in applying for funding opportunities through AHS.
For clients who wish to remain home at end-of-life, AHS supports clients through the Rural Palliative Care In-Home Funding Program.
The program provides “limited funding” for families that require additional support for things like personal care, respite care or nursing care.
“These funds can be accessed when there is an assessed unmet need, Home Care services have been maximized, other services and funding have been exhausted and the additional care will safely keep the client at home longer,” continued the release.
“The client and family have the flexibility to choose their own care providers and direct and schedule the care they require. This team is working together to ensure that clients receive the appropriate support.”