The Community and Rural Health Planning Framework applies a standardized approach to community and rural health service planning across Alberta. The framework integrates new planning approaches with previous planning undertaken by the former Regional Health Authorities and builds upon the unique strengths of each rural community.
The framework includes the Community Assessment and Service Response toolkit. This toolkit outlines a planning process beginning with the validation of data and ending with specific community recommendations.
The Community and Rural Health Planning committee consists of membership from a wide variety of Alberta Health Services departments. Throughout the planning process, the Community and Rural Health Services Planning committee takes into account all other strategies developed within Alberta Health Services to ensure initiatives are aligned. This includes strategies such as the Seniors’ Strategy and Facilities Planning.
The Community and Rural Health Planning committee provides a framework to each AHS zone for ongoing health service planning. The zones lead the planning process, with support from Alberta Health Services provincial strategy teams for a standardized approach to service planning.
The Community Assessment and Service Response toolkit is designed to support and guide rural health services planning in Alberta. The first product produced is a data report that is presented to local AHS leadership. The data reports are developed by collecting information from communities regarding health service delivery in their area. There is some limitation to the data and level of detail available, which is why it is also essential to validate and consult with communities.
These data reports support planning through the identification of service gaps and opportunities. The data reports provide a detailed overview of local health services available within a community.
Community consultations are an important part of the planning process to validate the health data gathered. Interviews and/or focus groups may be used as the method for community consultations.