Seniors' group hopes to repeat success of last year's campaign

By Geoff Lee

January 10, 2017 10:30 AM

MORE ALS NEEDED Graham Brown, chair of Lloydminster Concerned Citizens Seniors Care Society, pictured with Joy Bell, CEO of Pioneer Lodge, at a cheque presentation during the 2016 seniors' AGM, is hopeful a second advanced life support ambulance paramedic will be announced in 2017. Prairie North Health Region is collecting data from WPD Ambulance to determine the need to fund an additional ALS paramedic. FILE LLS PHOTO

Lloydminster seniors are ringing in the new year with a hangover of unresolved 911 medical issues led by the need for more advanced life support (ALS) paramedics.
Lobbying by the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors’s Care Society in 2016 landed one ALS paramedic for the Border City.
Graham Brown, chair of the seniors society, called that their highlight of the year and a disappointment at the same time.
“We are still working on trying to get more,” he said.
“I think we want to say for 2017, we still think that there is inadequate service with ambulance and we’re working to try and expand that.”
Brown said here is a higher need for paramedics than what we have in supply from the provider, WPD Ambulance.
“We don’t have paramedics to do transfers and that is very crucial to be able to transfer patients,” he said.
The seniors care society will continue to lobby for a second ambulance to provide ALS services and transfers in the Border City.
Brown noted representatives from WPD attended the seniors care society’s first meeting of the year on Jan. 3 with discussions focused on strategies to improve the service. Brown hinted there could be more news forthcoming.
“We have meetings planned in the new year with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Prairie North Health Region to try and move that along,” said Brown.
“We’re optimistic if we keep working on it, we’ll get it increased.”
ALS paramedics can provide for a broader range of cardiac inventions, breathing supports and medication in emergency situations than EMS paramedics.
“We’ve been working together with AHS on it and having a lot of discussion with the private provider,” said Prairie North Health Region CEO David Fan, in late December.
“We’re still in the process of trying to figure it out based on the last few months of experience whether there is greater need we need to meet.”
Fan said the health region was in the process of collecting data from WPD on the number of calls, where they are coming from and how often they are occurring and other information like that.
He said the collection of data will tell them whether further investment needs to be made.
“That is a very important phase for us at this point,” said Fan.
The health region and AHS are responsible for the delivery of emergency medical services in Lloydminster.
WPD has three ambulances in Lloydminster and Brown said the seniors care society will continue to work on trying to get what they were promised in 2016.
He refers to a letter sent to the seniors care society by AHS Minister Sarah Hoffman last April stating: “ALS is now available throughout Lloydminster and each ambulance is staffed with at least one advanced care paramedic.”
In the letter Hoffman wrote, “To ensure that lives are not at risk, Alberta Health Services directed the contracted provider in Lloydminster to begin delivering ALS (services on the Alberta side starting Feb. 19, 2016.
She also noted the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health directed WPD to deliver ALS services on the Saskatchewan side of the Border City as of March 4.
Brown said based on that letter, his group’s top priority in 2017 will be getting both provinces to meet those obligations.
“We were promised paramedic service and then they got together and decided there would be one,” said Brown.
The seniors’s care society is also hoping 2017 will also bring good tidings from AHS to add seniors’ beds to the south and central wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care instead of demolishing them. Seniors have requested AHS conduct a review of the condition of the two wings to ascertain their suitability for re-purposing.
Brown said they have met with AHS in 2016, but still don’t have any answers on that.
“They have a report that they were doing to determine whether they were going to re-purpose or rebuild and we’re still waiting to see that report,” he said.
Brown said Lloydminster Mayor Gerald Aalbers has attended a few of the seniors care society meetings and welcomed his input.
“I think he understands where we’re coming from and hopefully he will help us,” said Brown.
Brown is ready to head to Palm Springs for the winter and says he’ll be leaving matters in good hands.
“We’ve got lots of good people around the table to work with – a lot of committed people who are concerned about the level of service of ambulance and more beds at Dr. Cooke,” he said.
“So we all working together very hard to try to get these issues resolved and provide more beds for seniors and provide more care.”

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