With the province announcing their intention to expand continuing care across Alberta, Vermilion will be submitting a proposal for more beds.
Supportive Living Level 4 (SL4) beds for seniors are not currently available in the community, so finding a way to provide the service has been an ongoing project for Town Council.
“This will be a huge benefit to our community,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
SL4 is essentially the stage for residents requiring care between the lodge and the nursing home.
Supportive Living Level 3 (SL3) is available at the Vermilion Valley Lodge, and Supportive Living Level 5 (SL5) is available at the Vermilion Health Centre (Long Term Care).
According to Alberta Health Services, SL3 residents only receive visits from health care aides, or home care, while an SL4 facility can give residents access to services from a social worker, physical therapist, licensed practical nurse, or registered nurse.
“We have approximately a 20–25 per cent vacancy in our SL3 beds,” said McAuley.
“Without SL4, families are often left with their relatives waiting for placement in other communities. Our senior residents have been sent to Wainwright, Vegreville, or as far as Daysland.
“Anytime we move our seniors there is confusion and heartache for the families. This potential funding will allow people to age in place.”
She said the provincial government is well aware of the need to offer SL4 beds in Vermilion.
If the proposal is accepted, the town will look at shifting some of the beds at the Vermilion Valley Lodge so that they are able to offer SL4 services.
The transition would support a change sought by residents for many years by creating a higher level of care offered to seniors in the community.
Bonnyville, St. Paul were among 31 provincial communities shortlisted for expanding care.