Tag Archives: mental health

Health Programs for the Ill in Alberta, Canada

It can be difficult to navigate the resources that are available for sick people in Alberta. Thankfully, Alberta Health Services has a strong background in providing support to those in medical need. There are some great programs that caregivers can check out for their patients and loved ones who are in need of support due to illness. This list is not comprehensive, but the following does cover many of the programs available:

Early Psychosis Clinic

Depending on the area of Alberta, the contact details for each group are a little bit different. However, Alberta has been on the forefront of providing this collection of social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to patients after they have a psychotic episode before the age of 30.

When a caregiver is helping someone who has had a psychosis, the person should be aware that this individual’s life is upside down. The doctors are still trying to find the cause of this psychosis, even after inpatient hospitalization. The person will be unable to care for themselves until the patient is on the right balance of medication. This can take years of support, so young people need help for a variety of professionals to get back on track.

Geriatric Nurses

This specialized branch of nursing helps seniors in the later stages of their life. These nurses can be called up at the hospital and mobilized to go into older adults’ homes. They will help the caregiver with making the home safe for the new needs of the senior, which can be mobility issues or cognitive decline. They will also advise regarding when it is time to transition the older adult into a nursing home. Sometimes a senior will have Alzheimer’s or a serious illness that needs constant monitoring. If the caregiver cannot provide this, then these nurses will help find more viable long term solutions.

Alberta Hospital

Alberta Hospital is a full-service psychiatric hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. There are so many other great psych units in Alberta, but Alberta Hospital is unique in that it only deals with psychiatric patients. If a person who is ill starts exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, then their caregiver might need to work in conjunction with a doctor to get a referral to Alberta Hospital. This hospital is also a perfect place to call up and ask for resources regarding mental health in one’s community. As an alternative, any ER is a place to take a patient who needs help immediately. The hospitals can and will accommodate the mentally ill in their treatment.

Alberta Healthy Living Program

Even healthy people can attend these classes, so it is something that caregivers and ill patients can participate in together. These classes also help to accommodate several language groups, so those caring for immigrants might find that these services can help their patients.

The educational groups offer a variety of topics. They are free six-week workshops. There are exercise groups that a person can attend. Also, free nutritional counseling appointments can be scheduled.

Take a Look at the Care Giver Bill of Rights

People might have heard the term but still, wonder- “what is a care giver bill of rights?”. Well, it’s not a formal document fashioned in a court of law. Rather, it is a set of principles that were penned by author Jo Horne. In her book “Caregiving: Helping an Aging Loved One” (1985) she wrote out this list of rights that a care giver has.

It is vital for a caregiver, especially an unpaid one such as a family member, to look this over. Caregivers cannot do everything. In a more clinical setting, there are restrictions on care giving such as shift work. This means the person can have a life outside of their job.

Facing a Loved One’s Illness

However, for others, they fell into care giving seemingly over night. These people were faced with the illness of a loved one, whether a parent or a child and they were the ones that needed to step in. In the case of the elderly, the person might have wanted their parent to have some time at home before they went into a nursing home full time. Some parents who are ill even die at their homes. But even in this case, the person who is caring needs to remember that they are not expected to give up their own lives.


Keep the Balance

A caregiver does have a fulfilling job to do that, but they are also still a human who needs balance. They also have the right to find this balance. They can do this even if their efforts to do so are thwarted by the person with the illness. Because while they need to keep their loved ones safe, they are not required to become emotional wrecks who are shells of their former selves in the process.

Don’t Put Off Dreams

The bill of rights reminds the caregiver that it is alright if they have dreams after this stint is over. They do not need to put off their plans for a future, such as planning to study or online classes. The care giver is allowed to save their money to do what they want in the future too. They don’t need to spend it entirely on the ill person.


Find Support

There are limits in all professions, and caregivers have theirs. They will be human and have bad days. They need the support that comes from this literature to uphold their value as a human and as an employee. Because often those who are ill are not capable of giving a lot back. Sometimes they are, and those times should be relished and celebrated. But if they are only giving back guilt and depression, then the care giver should not take on those emotions. They do have to stay intact and healthy as an individual, and taking on negative ways of coping and relating are not in the mandate of every caregiver.


The summary of the bill of rights is never a substitute for the real thing. So take a moment as a caregiver to lap in the wisdom that has been passed on from this author to millions of care givers since then.