Local bariatric program confirmed among best in Canada

April 21, 2016

Clinic first in Western Canada, second in country, to earn accredited status

EDMONTON — A local bariatric clinic is the first in Western Canada – and only the second in Canada – to achieve accreditation for treating severe obesity and related conditions.

The Edmonton Adult Bariatric Specialty Clinic at the Royal Alexandra Hospital has been accredited as a comprehensive centre under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

“For Albertans, this confirms they have access to one of the biggest and best bariatric programs in North America – one that meets the highest standards for patient safety, quality of care, self-evaluation and continuous improvement,” says Dr. Shahzeer Karmali, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The Edmonton Adult Bariatric Specialty Clinic is the largest in the province. More than 1,200 patients visited the clinic last year, and more than 280 bariatric surgeries were performed.

Bariatric clinics in Calgary, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Red Deer use a model of care similar to Edmonton’s; however, those four centres do not have the bariatric surgical volumes at this time to qualify for accreditation from MBSAQIP.

“Bariatric patients across Alberta receive first-rate care, and I’m pleased our Edmonton program is receiving well-deserved recognition for the outstanding care they provide,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, Interim President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS). “I offer my congratulations to the team on receiving this recognition. Our bariatric programs treat the whole person safely and with dignity. We are proud of the work our bariatric teams do across AHS.”

To earn accredited status, the Edmonton clinic was visited by a bariatric surgeon who reviewed the centre's structure, process, and clinical data.

Accredited centres must ensure bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which is proven to improve patient outcomes and long-term success. Accredited centres also must offer pre-operative and post-operative care designed specifically for patients with severe obesity.

“Our patients receive medical, psychological, and surgical interventions for weight management and improving health,” says Dr. Karmali.

When patients access the clinic, staff assess whether bariatric surgery is an option. Not everyone participating in the clinic is an appropriate candidate for bariatric surgery; other treatment options may be determined to be more appropriate and successful long-term.

Each patient receives an individualized care plan which may include behaviour modification; counselling for nutrition, physical activity, and mental health; drug treatment and/or bariatric surgery; and co-ordinated care to transition the patient back to their family physician with recommendations from the clinic.

Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto has the only other accredited comprehensive bariatric centre in Canada.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the quality of care for the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the College an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, founded in 1983, was formed to advance the art and science of metabolic and bariatric surgery by continually improving the quality and safety of care and treatment of people with obesity and related diseases through educational and support programs for surgeons and integrated health professionals.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Shelly Willsey
AHS Communications