You may have heard on the news recently a story about the Complex Mental Health program at Carewest Colonel Belcher. It is the assertion of some veterans’ advocates that a Complex Mental Health care program for Continuing Care clients should not be co-located in the same care centre that provides long-term care services to veterans.

In 2021 and 2022, beds were converted at Carewest Colonel Belcher from regular continuing care spaces to continuing care beds for residents with enhanced need for mental health supports. This decision was made after careful analysis of the needs of the local population, and how best to meet the increased need for long term care clients who also have complex care needs, including mental health care and support. Due to the success of the program and the needs in the Calgary Zone, Carewest has collaborated with Alberta Health Services on continuing to support individuals requiring this level of service.

Prior to the transition, Carewest implemented a robust transition plan, and affected residents were provided the option to request a transfer to an alternate facility.

To ensure the safety of all our clients and residents following this transition, several measures at the site have been implemented, including increased security and staffing levels, training and education of staff, and ensuring that residents who have enhanced mental health needs are appropriate for this program and the environment.

We want to reassure you that our priority is to provide all our residents with excellent care in a safe environment. We will continue to meet with and address the needs of our long-term care residents and their families. We will provide them with all the support they need to continue to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

It is important to Carewest to maintain Colonel Belcher’s strong identity as a Veterans’ Care Centre. All veterans who are referred to Carewest Colonel Belcher will continue to have access to long term care services, including veterans requiring enhanced mental health care and supports.

We would also like to express gratitude to our staff who live our organizational values every day and work very hard to ensure the safety and comfort of all who call Carewest Colonel Belcher home.

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