• Reporter Elaina John

SL4 Care Soon To Be Available in Vermilion

Vermilion Valley Lodge. Photo Elaina John

The Town of Vermilion received a letter from Health Minister Tyler Shandro on February 12, which approved $500,000 in capital funding to implement Senior Living Level 4 care in the Vermilion Valley Lodge (VVL).

Capital funding will be put towards all the supplies needed to provide SL4 care to VVL residents, such as electric hospital beds and lift transfers. Once operational funding is received, the Vermilion District Housing Foundation (VDHF) can begin recruiting staff to provide full time coverage to residents.

According to Mayor and Chair of the VDHF, Caroline McAuley, the town has been trying to get SL4 care in Vermilion for approximately 10 years.

Vermilion currently has SL3 care available at the lodge and SL5 available at the long term care centre. Since SL4 is not yet in Vermilion, seniors requiring this care are transferred to another community. Where a resident is transferred depends on where there is availability.

“They could be as close as Wainwright or Vegreville, or as far as Daysland or Lamont,” said Mayor McAuley, “that’s a long way away.”

According to VDHF CAO Paul Kim, the lodge is hoping to have 20 SL4 beds and 20 SL4D (Supportive Living Dementia) beds, with a total of 18 SL3 beds. This arrangement is currently being negotiated with AHS.

“We’re finding that people don’t stay in SL3 for very long,” Mayor McAuley explained, “as of right now, I think we have more SL3 beds than we need.”

The VDHF is hoping to transition beds in the lodge to SL4 care as smoothly as possible to ensure residents remain comfortable. VDHF CAO Kim estimates that after official operational funding is received it will take about one and a half months to hire staff and begin providing SL4 care. He noted that getting SL4 beds in the community was initially a vision from the community itself.

“We are excited to deliver SL4 care so residents can stay in their community,” CAO Kim stated.

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