What's new in Abbotsford

Across our region, we are investing in community-based care by increasing health care resources in community settings. This means patients will receive the right level of care in the right places. This is about looking at the programs and services we provide and making decisions that are in the best interests of patients and residents, decisions that will help people avoid being in hospital, get them out of hospital more quickly and support them more fully in the community and in their homes.

What we are talking about is a complex shift of resources but our goal is clear – to promote health, wellness and prevention in our communities. All of our decisions are based on what is best for the communities we serve and the people we care for.

Here are some examples of how this is happening in Abbotsford.

Community services in Abbotsford

Palliative Care

  • Holmberg House, a 10-bed hospice, opened in April 2016. By opening Holmberg House, we've created more capacity for our palliative patients while reducing pressure on the Mission hospice, which in the past has served the communities of both Abbotsford and Mission. Holmberg House takes patients out of the hospital and into a better setting.

Mental Health and Substance Use

  • We established new Hospital Community Liaison teams between Abbotsford Regional Hospital Psychiatry Program and Abbotsford and Mission Mental Health and Substance Use Centres to provide enhanced support, seven days a week, for individuals who have been discharged from hospital into the care of their community mental health and substance use centre.
  • In August 2016, Marshall Road Residence will open 50 beds to support mental health clients. It will feature a mix of licensed residential care (30) and assisted living beds (20) some of which will be new and some redeveloped. There are also 18 new Supported Independent Living Subsidies available in Abbotsford.
  • Two additional mobile detox teams (one funded by Fraser Health, the other by First Nations Health Authority) are now available to access support in withdrawing from substances. Clients receive a medical assessment by a doctor along with regular monitoring by a nurse and health care worker during the withdrawal process, and case workers help clients connect with community services to continue their recovery. Since the first team was launched in 2010, there has been a 67 per cent decrease in the number of service area hospital admissions among these clients and a 46 per cent decrease in the number of psychiatric emergency room visits among participants. 

Sexual Health

  • Last year, we opened a dedicated sexual health clinic specifically for gay men to meet health needs they may not feel comfortable discussing with their family doctors. The clinic, located on Marshall Road, provides counselling, testing for HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted infections, free condoms and health information for men who have sex with men.


  • Abbotsford is one of three Fraser Health communities selected for the implementation of a new model of care for frail seniors to help them avoid hospitalization and help them stay in their homes longer. Working with the Ministry of Health, we are working to redesign and enhance community services and to improve how they work together to support frail seniors. We are establishing processes for a timely response to meet frail seniors’ urgent care needs, and to strengthen relationships with community partners such as physicians and non-government organizations, in order to provide coordinated, client-centred services as needed. We are redesigning our clinical tools and care processes within the community to better support and respond to the emerging care needs of frail seniors. We are also adding additional staff to Home Health and the Specialized Seniors Clinic to enhance capacity in the community in addition to new resources which will be targeted where the needs arise in 2016/17.

Abbotsford Regional Hospital updates 

  • In 2014/15 we invested $3.837 million in capital equipment for Abbotsford Regional Hospital, including ultrasounds and infusion pumps.
  • In 2015, the JLIF Clinic, the new home of the Abbotsford Breast Health Centre, opened at the hospital.
  • In April 2016, we will be adding up to 16 doctors to provide care for inpatients in medical units, in addition to the family doctors with privileges who also provide care to their patients.
  • We are adding a Nurse Practitioner to our surgical unit to better support patients and surgeons and improve discharge planning. 
  • We are increasing weekend coverage of Patient Care Coordinators to improve timely patient care and discharge planning throughout the week. 
  • We have added weekend Occupational Therapy Services to assist with care and discharge planning on weekends.
  • In spring 2017, the Province announced a $15-million expansion of the emergency department and a dedicated area for mental health and substance use care. The project includes a 668.9-square metre emergency department expansion to improve the flow and care of patients.

Regional updates 

Across Fraser Health, we are investing in: 

Home Health

  • This program provides clients who need help to manage their health and to live safely in their homes with case management services, nursing support, older adult day programs, respite service for caregivers, and more. We have added staff to improve access to home support – bathing and medication management, for example – and other home health services – wound care and short term-physiotherapy – by clients who are either recovering at home following a hospital stay or seniors who need help to remain independent at home.

Home First

  • Home First is expanding in Abbotsford with the addition of key team members to improve access to home support and other Home Health services. Home First is a program for seniors in hospital who have been assessed at the residential care level who have the potential to go home instead. They are fast-tracked to return home with the home health supports they need as well as other community supports, medical and non-medical. Nearly 1,000 patients returned home and avoided residential care placement in the first three years of Home First (2012 to 2015).


  • This community program offers clients with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) home-based education to help them manage their disease and prevent flare-ups which could otherwise send them to the emergency room or result in hospitalization. A respiratory therapist works with the client and their doctor to develop a health improvement plan, and connects the client with community services such as lung rehabilitation, home supports, rehabilitation therapy and exercise programs. As of March 2016, 1,430 people are accessing the service across the region. The program is now expanding to Fraser Health residential facilities.

Mental Health and Substance Use

  • Across the region, 226 new and redeveloped beds will become available for clients with mental health and substance use challenges in 2016/17. Of these, 96 are residential care beds (a mix of licensed residential care and assisted living); 33 are Supported Independent Living subsidies; and 97 contracted beds will provide services and supports to individuals with substance use challenges.
  • Abbotsford is one of six Fraser Health communities with an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team: an innovative approach to provide support for hard-to-reach adults with serious and persistent mental illness who have not connected with, or responded well to traditional mental health care. The teams comprise various mental health and substance use professionals including a team coordinator, psychiatrist, social workers, registered nurses, mental health care workers, occupational therapist and peer support workers. The ACT team is intended to be mobile and deliver 75 per cent of its services in settings such as a person’s home, shelters, drop-in centres, or parks. The program, which has more than 300 clients across our health region and nearly 60 in Abbotsford/Mission, reduces barriers through an outreach approach, extended hours of service, and a "housing first" philosophy.
  • A new nurse practitioner, social worker and community outreach nurse help people with substance dependence that are not currently attached to substance use services and may have multiple barriers to doing so. In collaboration with existing non-clinical outreach and social services, these new services provide intensive support and stabilization to people with complex challenges related to health, housing, poverty, and other barriers, move people toward recovery from substance dependence, and link people to housing and treatment.
  • A state-of-the-art Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit (CAPSU) for children and adolescents with urgent mental health issues is set to open this spring at Surrey Memorial Hospital. CAPSU will serve young people from across the region, aged six to 17, who need a five- to seven-day stay in hospital for stabilization. CAPSU will be home to a Snoezelen™ Room, a multi-sensory environment used to help reduce agitation and anxiety and stimulate and encourage communication, the first of its kind for children and youth in a hospital psychiatric unit in Canada.  

Residential Care

  • We provide subsidized residential care for adults who can no longer live safely or independently at home due to complex health care needs. In 2016 we will add 403 new residential care beds and we will bring 228 of our existing residential care beds up to current care standards. Across the region, with new investments this year we have a total of 8,254 residential care beds available in Fraser Health, an increase of 7.9% since 2010. There are currently nine residential facilities in Abbotsford and active planning is underway to renew residential beds in the city. 

Outpatient Rehabilitation

  • We are developing patient-centered clinical tools and processes to improve access and coordination of services to enhance outcomes. 

Recent kudos for our health care providers

  • I just wanted to say thank you to Kirsten and Gagan who were two of the nurses who helped me while I was in the psychiatric unit at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. They went out of their way to talk to me and try to help me feel better, and were so genuinely kind to me while I was there. They truly did an amazing job and demonstrated true compassion and empathy which not only helped me a lot but assured me that they cared about my thoughts and feelings, and cared about helping me get better. Thank you so much. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • On the day of the delivery of my baby girl, we had a nurse who went by the name of Melanie. Now I am pretty accident prone and visited the hospital very frequently growing up – I have been under the care of many nurses. With that being said, this is definitely a different circumstance, as well as a different department entirely, but Melanie was hands down one of the best nurses this hospital has ever hired and I feel they have been very fortunate to bring her on to the team. (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • My husband had to take me to Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s Emergency. This was the first time I've had to go to Abbotsford Emergency and was amazed how busy it was. Between the doctors, nurses and staff there were also multiple police and ambulance attendance all working in organized confusion. I just wanted to say that right from the intake to finally getting me out the door everyone was professional and worked extremely well together (doctors, nurses, EMS, police, everyone). (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)
  • My family and I are forever grateful for the quick, efficient and life-saving work of Abbotsford Regional Hospital’s ER staff. My father walked in with chest pains, and within 30 minutes, was coded and was revived by quick acting nurses and a wonderful ER physician, Dr. Sartor, who later was kind enough to follow-up on him after he was sent to Royal Columbian hospital for a stent placement. If it wasn’t for your immediate action, my two daughters may have lost their grandpa! And thank you to all the wonderful staff on the cardiac care unit who had to deal with a stubborn nicotine–withdrawing old man - he may be a bit cantankerous, but he’s ours and we love him! (Via feedback@fraserhealth.ca)

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