INNISFAIL – The town has scored a notable win by attracting a post-secondary course that will be based in the community.
Campus Alberta Central (CAC) has opened up its Innisfail site to have the Henday Association for Lifelong Learning host an eight-month Health Care Aide certificate program.
The CAC is an agreement between Red Deer and Olds colleges to bring access to academic programming to rural areas of Central Alberta instead of citizens having to go to those colleges.
“I have been wanting this for a long time, and I feel really happy to have this come to our community and actually be a part of it,” said Donna Arnold, executive director of the town’s Henday office, who noted Innisfail is a smaller and less remote Campus Alberta Central rural site compared to others, such as Rocky Mountain House.
“They have given us an opportunity for Innisfail to be able to run it from our community.”
The Health Care Aide certificate program is a full-time course that will be centred in Innisfail. There will be eight months of training and instruction, an increase from the past six-month program.
The course will be split up for online instruction and in-person lab training at the Henday office in the Innisfail Library/Learning Centre.
For in-person training, an instructor from Red Deer will come to Innisfail. The tuition fee is $8,700.
“This is the first time, and it is a real bonus for us because health care aides are in real demand. Right now, there is a separate group actually hiring comfort care aides, and the reason they are doing that is there is a shortage of health care aides. It’s good pay and lots of work,” said Arnold.
Alberta Health Services reports on its website it now employs about 6,800 health care aides across the province to provide high level front-line care to clients in need of assistance.
Health care aides are trained to provide direct care and personal assistance to patients who are ill, elderly or disabled. They assist patients with bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting.
According to Alberta Health Services guidelines, they also assist with motion exercises, basic wound care, respiratory equipment use as well as assisting patients to take medications.
Arnold said practicums have not yet been organized but she’s hoping they will be available in the Town of Innisfail.
“We are hoping they can go to the hospital or the senior homes and be able to help out there and not have to leave the community for anything,” said Arnold.
She said her agency will be able to offer the program for two years. The first year will begin Sept. 2 at the Henday office.
Arnold said Henday is hoping to have two classes of eight for this fall.
“We’ve got people applying already,” she said. “We are hoping we can fill up the class.”
For more information on the Health Care Aide certificate program, as well as registering for the course and how and where to apply for student loan funding, contact the Innisfail Henday office at 403-227-2866.