June 10, 2022
SWAN HILLS — Alberta Health Services (AHS) is temporarily changing hours of service at Swan Hills Healthcare Centre, due to a lack of registered nursing staff and an inability to secure temporary coverage.
Between June 9 and July 9, 2022, the Swan Hills Healthcare Centre will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and closed overnight, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This will allow existing staff to provide consistent service for twelve hours each day, during the times when the majority of emergency department and outpatient visits occur. In-patient admissions will be paused, with the exception of two designated supportive living beds that can be made available if staffing is supplied to support them.
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 was not easy but it will allow us to provide ongoing daily care throughout the summer without creating burnout among our dedicated healthcare professionals. We will continue to work on recruiting staff and locum coverage in order to return to normal operating hours as soon as possible,” says Stacy Greening, Chief Zone Officer with AHS North Zone. “Ensuring patients have the care they need at their local facility is of utmost importance to us and 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.