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LETTER: Clarification about palliative care available in the valley needed

Editor: We want to correct several inaccuracies in a recent article regarding publicly-funded palliative care in the Bow Valley.
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Editor:

We want to correct several inaccuracies in a recent article regarding publicly-funded palliative care in the Bow Valley.

There are currently four publicly-funded dedicated palliative/end-of-life care beds in the Bow Valley; two at the Canmore General Hospital and two at the Mineral Springs Hospital in Banff.

Local healthcare foundations, including the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation and the Canmore Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, have generously supported the renovation of these rooms. If these beds are not required for palliative and end-of life-care due to patient healthcare needs, they can instead be used for acute care patients in times of need, however, they remain dedicated palliative care beds. Additionally, there are 114 publicly-funded community hospice beds within the greater Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

In addition to these local in-hospital resources,there is a dedicated specialized palliative home care service to support all residents within the Bow Valley. This program provides individuals with palliative conditions to be supported in their homes if that is their wish. The team also works with these clients and their families to arrange for care and additional support needs, including collaboration with local community services and volunteers, when appropriate.

AHS has also been actively working with several rural hospice societies to support the development of future dedicated hospice beds for all rural communities within the Calgary Zone, including the Bow Valley. To suggest there is an AHS policy against the future creation of palliative care beds in rural communities is inaccurate.

Across the province, AHS currently identifies and endorses the need for 7.7 palliative/hospice care beds per 100,000 area residents. We currently have four in the Bow Valley corridor, which has a population of approximately 30,000.

AHS actively supports strong relationships with the Canmore and Area Health Care Foundation and the Palliative Care Society of the Bow Valley, as well as all other healthcare foundations, trusts, auxiliaries and societies across Alberta.

We are very grateful for all they do for Albertans and the philanthropic and community support they provide each and every day.

Nick Thain,

Senior Program Officer – Community, Rural, Continuing Care, Calgary Zone,

Alberta Health Services

 



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