Temporary hours change at Wabasca-Desmarais Healthcare Centre

June 20, 2022

WABASCA – Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily changing hours of service at Wabasca-Desmarais Healthcare Centre, due to an insufficient number of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) as a result of vacancies and unexpected absences.

As a result, the Wabasca-Desmarais Healthcare Centre hospital is currently only safely staffed to provide twelve hours of emergency care per day.  Until nursing staff return or coverage is found, the Wabasca-Desmarias Healthcare Centre Emergency Department will be open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

If the ED is very busy, the ED may begin to redirect or transfer patients to other facilities up to two hours before closing (beginning around 5:30 p.m.) in order to complete care for existing patients in the department.

Patient safety and care remain the highest priorities for AHS. The organization is working hard to ensure everyone will receive the care they need through its partnership with EMS and a robust regional network of healthcare centres.

“This decision reflects our best option for providing consistent, ongoing care at this facility during this staffing challenge,” says Stacy Greening, Chief Zone Officer with AHS North Zone. “The change is temporary and we are dedicated to returning to normal operating hours as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Recruitment of nurses is a challenge across North America. It can be particularly difficult outside of urban centres and with practitioners who bring specialty skills.

AHS has a dedicated team focused on recruitment efforts. These efforts include aggressively pursuing both Canadian and internationally trained professionals; working to support flexible roles and scope of practice within AHS; and consulting with post-graduate education programs to enable work experience in non-urban facilities.

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.