Sundre residents upset by loss of long-term care beds at town hospital

Sundre residents say they're upset by the loss of 15 long-term care beds at the town's hospital, and that the alternative offered by Alberta Health Services isn't good enough.

Residents worry seniors will be forced out of the community for intensive care

AHS is closing all 15 long-term care beds at the Sundre Hospital, and re-locating them to a new continuing care centre. (Google Maps)

Sundre residents say they're upset by the loss of 15 long-term care beds at the town's hospital, and that the alternative offered by Alberta Health Services isn't good enough.

A new senior living facility will take on the 15 beds and have an additional 25 spaces, bringing the total there to 40.

"It's just heartbreaking," says local Heidi Overguard, who is especially concerned for seniors who rely on 24-hour care at the hospital.

"That section of the public that has built the community, a lot of them are seniors. If they are going to need that level of care, they won't be able to stay in our community or stay by their families. And I don't think that's right in any way shape or form," Overguard said.

"The bottom line — our community does not want to lose the long-term care service. We understand maybe there will be a reduction in beds if it comes down to cost savings, but we don't want one person who needs long-term care to have to leave our community because of this decision."

AHS officials haven't announced how the hospital space will be converted once the beds are gone.

AHS is planning to host public consultations and meet with medical professionals.

In a release, chief zone officer Kerry Bales says he wants to "work with community members and look at the best evidence available about the use of health services in Sundre."

The beds will be decomissioned by July.

With files from the CBC’s Stephanie Wiebe

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