No two of Alberta's rural communities are alike. They are diverse in culture, religion, language and tradition. Each one has its own set of needs, and a one-size-fits-all approach to health care does not best meet the needs of Albertans and their unique communities.
Providing the broad range of services required to meet the needs of rural Albertans is no easy task.
The diversity of rural areas presents challenges of geography, distance and climate. Whether neighbouring communities take advantage of their proximity to share services, or service providers travel between communities where they’re needed, AHS is tailoring health services to meet these individual needs.
A community and rural health planning framework is being developed to ensure we have a consistent approach to how we make decisions. We want our decision making to be based on evidence, including demographics and population health data, to help us tailor service delivery to meet the unique needs of a community.
It is vital that all communities, both urban and rural, are engaged in the continued development of our health care system. Alberta Health Services recognizes the importance of involving Albertans in recommendations about health service delivery. We know local stakeholders can help us gain a clear understanding of local needs, so that we can select the right mix of services for their areas.
Community engagement is an important part of planning within the framework to ensure the information we're using truly reflects the needs of the communities. Engaging communities in the planning process also helps Alberta Health Services determine how to best deliver quality services that will be accessible and sustainable for the future.
The development of the framework is complete. These documents are being used to guide future decisions related to health service delivery in rural communities in Alberta.