Coronavirus: AHS sends staff to Calgary’s Millrise Seniors Village to deal with personnel shortage

Millrise Seniors Village in Calgary pictured on Monday, April 27, 2020. Michael King/Global News

Alberta Health Services is sending help to Millrise Seniors Village in Calgary to support the facility during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement released on Monday.

“Due to challenges in staffing levels at the facility over the past few days, AHS is directly involved in supporting residents and staff of Millrise Seniors Village to manage the COVID-19 outbreak on site,” AHS said in a statement to Global News.

READ MORE: Millrise seniors home apologizes for lack of communication after COVID-19 cases confirmed

AHS said it took immediate action to “improve staffing, outbreak control, and infection prevention and control measures.”

The health authority said that over the weekend, it sent about 20 staff to the facility to help deliver care.

Ashley Homme, the general manager of Millrise Seniors Village, said the facility is “more than open and transparent.”

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“Our focus is on protecting residents, staff and families during this pandemic,” she said. “We have dedicated managers and corporate site staff.”

READ MORE: Alberta reports 216 additional COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths; outbreak confirmed at First Nation

A COVID-19 outbreak was initially declared at the site on April 15, according to James Woods, the director of media relations for AHS.​ He later corrected the date to April 14.

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Since April 17, AHS said it has had a health-care manager at the facility to support day-to-day operations.

Nurses’ union reacts

AHS said that its action at Millrise came just days after it and the United Nurses of Alberta signed an agreement to ensure that Albertans in care homes would be supported during staffing shortages.

David Harrigan, director of labour relations for the United Nurses of Alberta, said that all 20 shifts were covered by staff who volunteered to work.

“These are health-care professionals that want to do their best work,” Harrigan said, “not just for the patients that they know… but their best for the citizens of Alberta.”

He said the staffing shortage highlighted by AHS shows an agreement that protects residents was needed.

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“The parties [who signed the agreement] were wise,” said Harrigan. “We weren’t terribly surprised. We sort of foresaw that this could happen and that’s why we reached the agreement to begin with.”

– With files from Global News’ Michael King

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