Rural Health

Alberta Health Services is committed to meeting the health needs of Alberta's diverse rural communities now and in the future. We want to make sure that all Albertans have access to quality health services, whether they live in bedroom communities, mid-size towns or isolated regions.

Our rural communities make up about 22 per cent of Alberta's population. The people who live in these unique communities are important drivers of our province's economy, growth and vibrancy.  

Available Services

Alberta Health Services funds/operates 84 hospitals and emergency centres in rural and suburban Alberta. In addition, regional hospitals are operated in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Rural residents can also be referred for specialized treatment and care to the metropolitan and major tertiary hospitals in Edmonton and Calgary.

But there's much more to health service delivery than hospitals. Alberta Health Services strives to provide equitable access to health services by providing local service, outreach programs, satellite clinics and visiting physicians to communities across the province. The following are examples of just some of the services accessible in some rural Alberta communities:

Mobile services:

  • Breast Cancer Screening Program provides mobile screening units to give outreach screening services to on-site locations and to women in more than 100 communities in rural Alberta. 
  • Visiting Psychiatry Services are provided in many communities through referral and Mental Health Clinics.
  • Dialysis Bus provides mobile dialysis service and has capacity to serve four patients. 
  • Mobile MRI provides services for patients who cannot travel to larger urban centres.

In-home services:

  • Wound and Skin Care and Ostomy Services allow a registered nurse to provide individual consultations and assist patients with the management of wound and ostomy care. 
  • Home Parenteral Therapy provides professional assistance with administration of prescribed intravenous medications in the home setting.
  • Seniors Mental Health Program Community Services, Seniors Outreach Nurses Outreach nurses collaborate with other health-care providers to develop comprehensive patient reports, provide education regarding signs and symptoms of mental illness. Service is provided in the senior’s home. 

Telehealth technology: 

  • Clinical Telehealth Services allow health-care professional to use telehealth for appropriate clinical appointments, consults, follow ups, meetings and educational sessions.
  • TeleHome Care allows patients' health information to be monitored and collected from their own homes, and then transmitted to nurses for review and intervention if required. 
  • Pediatric TeleSurgery improves access to specialized pediatric surgical services for assessment, pre-op assessment and teaching, follow up or health maintenance care, case reviews and discharge planning. 
  • Virtual Pain and Symptom Control/Palliative Radiotherapy Clinic is offered through telehealth linkage with the Cross Cancer Institute. Patients can be connected with a multidisciplinary, specialist driven pain and symptom control consultation service.
  • TeleMental/Psychiatry Services is a province-wide telemental health psychiatric consultation service that provides timely, appropriate and specialized services in response to referral requests from rural physicians. Psychiatrists in all subspecialty areas provide routine and urgent consultations to facilities across the province.

Telephone helplines:

  • Health Link Alberta is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week nurse telephone advice and health information service. The toll free number for Health Link is 811.
  • The Smokers' Helpline, Mental Health Helpline and the Addiction Helpline are toll-free services available to provide support to Albertans, regardless of where they live, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For an extensive health information resource library, visit My Health Alberta. You can also visit the Programs and Services area of our website for more information on what's available near you.

Quick Links

Alberta’s rural communities are unique to their urban counterparts as well as to each other. Alberta Health Services is planning for the future health service needs of those communities.

Health Link

To speak with a nurse about a health concern or learn more information about available services in Alberta, dial 811 for Health Link.

More Information