The START Medical Day Hospital provides a comprehensive geriatric assessment and group-delivered rehabilitation within the framework of an eight-week program to seniors. The START Medicine Day Program (Short Term Assessment, Rehabilitation and Treatment) was established to meet the needs of the frail elderly experiencing increased functional loss due to acute changes as a result of multiple and complex medical conditions.
This summer the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital’s Short Term Assessment, Rehabilitation and Treatment program will complete treatment on the last group of Edmonton seniors to have benefited from this now 30 year-old program. Since being relocated to the Glenrose, cutbacks have reduced the number of patients who have been able to seek treatment.
The program, however, has never stopped providing hope to the individuals and families living with and coping with chronic medical conditions and disabilities. I’ve seen first hand, treatment at the Glenrose free a loved one in my immediate family, from the confinement of a lift-chair and a state of near immobility.
Between the soundbytes and accusations, are the day-to-day lives of frontline staff and those in need of, or in the care of, health services in Alberta. The most painful path an individual may take to become a prisoner isn’t to commit a crime, it’s to be inflicted with a chronic illness or disability and be unable to seek treatment.
With the closing of the START program, our seniors and those struggling with illness and disability are being separated from the treatment options which have been provided by its dedicated staff, staff who in the face of previous budget cuts have been forced to provide treatment and conduct exercises in whatever space was available to them, including busy hallways.
My family and I are providing this testimonial in the hope that the Alberta Government and Alberta Health Services will allow this program and its staff to continue to treat frail Albertan’s in need of help.