PUBLIC NOTICE: Service Update for Long Term Care, Stanton Territorial Hospital and Yellowknife Primary Care Sites

Public Notice

(Yellowknife, August 15, 2023) – The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority is providing notice to residents about adjustments to services in response to ongoing wildfire activity. Out of an abundance of caution, and to ensure a state of readiness should the wildfire situation escalate, the following steps are being taken to preserve health and social services system capacity.

It is critical to note that this work is preparatory, and is not being undertaken because of any new information or increased level of threat to the community of Yellowknife.

Stanton Territorial Hospital

NTHSSA is undertaking a process to divert or move the most logistically complex care and services from Yellowknife to southern care sites. This includes:

  • Stanton’s Intensive Care Unit will begin ramp down of services.  This is being done as a precautionary measure to minimize the number of complex patients who would require transfer in the event of a worsening fire situation in the Yellowknife area.  This means that patients requiring ICU-level care will be cared for in Stanton’s Emergency Department, and may be transferred to Alberta via air ambulance depending on their medical condition.
  • Transfer of Extended Care Unit residents to southern Long Term Care Facilities.
  • Stanton Operating Room services are being reduced to urgent and emergent cases only; time sensitive scheduled procedures will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and will proceed as needed.

With all of the above changes impacted individuals will be notified directly as soon as possible. These changes at Stanton are being made in the interest of ensuring we are ready to respond should the situation escalate and to prevent the need for complex patient transfer and movement in the midst of an emergency.  

Stanton Legacy Long Term Care Staging

The opening of Stanton Legacy building as a long term care site is a temporary measure for staging. After working with counterparts in Alberta, British Columbia, and other long term care sites in the NWT the NTHSSA is now enacting a plan to move residents who were evacuated to other sites where their care can be managed on an interim- basis.

At this time we do not know how long communities will be evacuated or what the impacts on services will be. Movement of these residents to other facilities that can provide ongoing care will allow for capacity to be preserved while the current evacuation plays out and while services are re-established afterward.  

Notification of next of kin is ongoing and we will be providing information directly to each residents contact person about where they will be moving and how they will be able to remain in touch.

As we respond to multiple evacuations and continued fire activity, our priority is to ensure the safety of our clients while continuing to support cultural safety and client and family centered care. Right now we are focused on ensuring that Long Term Care clients who have had to leave their home communities are being well accommodated with the appropriate level of care, and that these new locations have been shared with family. We know that family members who have also been evacuated will want to be near their loved ones in Long Term Care if possible.

This is something we will try to support in the coming days; however for now we first need to ensure that all of our clients have been taken care of. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we move through this process and work to communicate with family members so you can be in touch even if you can’t immediately be together.  

Yellowknife Primary Care

At this time there are no specific changes to primary care services in Yellowknife however we are seeing increased demand and are working to adjust services to provide basic supports such as prescription refills for displaced individuals. Residents can expect higher demand for same-day appointments as the primary impact at this time.

We encourage those who do not have an urgent concern to contact 811 for advice and assessment as to whether they need to present in person for care.

Further Updates

We remain committed to keeping residents informed and will continue to assess our service levels daily as the situation unfolds. Any service changes will be announced on the NTHSSA website and via our Facebook.


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