Movement on senior health issues

By Geoff Lee

June 15, 2017 12:00 AM

GO ON ... Paulette Schwenk, left and her husband Juergen, were among a group of about 50 people who attended the AGM of the Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society, on June 7 at the new wing of Pioneer House seniors' care facility. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The Lloydminster Concerned Citizens for Seniors Care Society expects to see the yardsticks move forward shortly on two perennial community health issues.
A decision by Alberta Health Services (AHS) is pending on the future of two old wings of the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Facility, and this fall on improved paramedic ambulance service.
These were the two leading issues on the agenda of the Seniors Care Society’s annual general meeting held June 7 at Pioneer House.
A decision on whether to repurpose or demolish the Dr. Cooke wings could come following two community meetings with AHS officials, the first held on June 13, and the second to be held on June 19.
“They’re saying they’ve pretty well made up their mind; they want to demolish it, but they want to come and talk to the community,” said Graham Brown, chair for the Seniors Care Society.
Brown said AHS officials plan to come to Lloydminster and speak with community leaders.
“Hopefully, we can get some input there and change their minds on that,” said Brown.
“I think there will probably be a decision shortly after that.”
The Seniors Care Society wants to repurpose the 40 rooms in the south and central wings of the Dr. Cooke centre, to meet the need for a transition unit, palliative care beds and respite care beds.
“We think we have demonstrated the need and propose an excellent solution, especially in these times of extreme financial restrictions,” Brown told an audience of about 50 seniors and visitors.
Brown added if the Alberta government wants to demolish it, then seniors would support the decision to demolish it when the money is put in place.
“If it is ‘no’ to repurposing and if it is ‘no’ to replacement, then we recommend the Alberta government donate the building to the city,” said Brown.
“We could repurpose the south and central wings of Dr. Cooke ourselves.”
Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Dr. Richard Starke says demolishing the wings would leave Lloydminster with a list of outstanding needs for seniors’ care and uncertainty.
“The question is, if it’s not going to be taken care of in the Dr. Cooke, then where and how and when?” he asked.
Starke noted he just learned about the two meetings the day before the AGM and didn’t think AHS was giving community groups enough time to prepare presentations.
“To have these meetings arranged with a week’s notice is pretty difficult,” he said.
AHS officials from Emergency Medical Services will speak with the Seniors Care Society this fall on the level of service provided to Lloydminster by Saskatchewan-based WPD Ambulance.
Brown’s list of must-haves include administering ambulance service through the Prairie North Health Region under one contract, and having at least two paramedics on duty at all time.
“We need at least two paramedics on duty at all times in order to do transfers to Edmonton or Saskatoon,” said Brown.
“If we get a single contract, then we could have the ambulances dedicated to Lloydminster.”
He also wants ambulance service to follow Saskatchewan protocols for staffing efficiencies, instead of the current Alberta protocols in the Border City.
Brown said the Seniors Care Society has also been trying unsuccessfully so far to get administrators on both sides of the border to quantify the demand for paramedic services.
“We really have a concern that they don’t seem to be keeping track of when there’s a 911 call, or when there’s a need for a paramedic and they don’t have one,” said Brown.
“That doesn’t seem to get recorded —we’re hoping we can get them to start doing that, which is then going to show an obvious demand that we need better service.”
Rod Sellers who elected to step down from the seniors’ board of directors, told the AGM that it’s a basic tenet in business, that if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
“I’m stunned to hear that’s the situation here,” he said during discussion period.
Sellers thinks that everyone on both sides of the border in health care needs to ask themselves what is going on?
“Those statistics will help in September when they come to talk to you,” added seniors’ advocate Phylliss Hunchak.

More News

LCSD hosts archbishop

The Lloydminster Catholic School Division (LCSD) had a special guest this week, as Archbishop Richard Smith toured multiple schools. more »

Falk talks first session in House of Commons

Battlefords-Lloydminster member of Parliament Rosemarie Falk is back in her constituency for the summer. She held a summer office open house this week for people to have a tour, drop by for a conversation,… more »

Health council opens channels

We have your back on healthcare. That’s what the Yellowhead East Health Advisory Council (HAC) told local and area residents during its latest meeting at the Lloydminster Hospital on June 20. more »

more »