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Long community lab wait times continue under DynaLIFE for Calgary patients



Calgary patients and doctors say wait times for blood work and quality of services remain a concern under DynaLIFE Medical Labs, the private company that took over operation of community labs late last year.

DynaLIFE and Alberta Health Services said Wednesday they’re continuing work toward addressing those problems, which have been ongoing for several months.

On Tuesday afternoon, the online DynaLIFE booking portal showed the earliest appointment available in Calgary was on June 24, with the majority of labs booking into the first or second week of July.


In identical statements sent to Postmedia on Wednesday afternoon, AHS and DynaLIFE said they are actively recruiting staff and bringing in workers from elsewhere in Alberta and Canada “to help in communities of high demand.”

They added they are expanding operations at some labs in Calgary and area, including by adding weekend service. They cited 1,450 new appointments being made available weekly, as well as temporary new locations being among steps being taken to address wait times.

One Calgary doctor who asked to stay anonymous for fear of professional reprimand said she’s hearing from patients who have travelled out of the city to labs as far as Canmore or Didsbury to get testing done. She added her colleagues have complained about lengthy waits to receive lab results, and said sometimes results aren’t sent at all or are directed to the wrong clinic.

Calgarians lay out frustrations with service

Jennifer Armstrong said she waited two hours and 20 minutes for lab work at the Richmond Road DynaLIFE location Tuesday morning, despite the online wait time reported as only 11 minutes.

”I don’t understand how anyone can get lab work done and work or look after their kids,” Armstrong said. She added that while staff were following posted directives for face-mask use to reduce virus spread, she was frustrated that waiting patients weren’t also doing so.

“I also don’t understand why they don’t take masking seriously to reduce staff being off sick.”

Jessy Roos said she has had to contend with a long delay in receiving the results of lab testing for strep throat this week, with that swab taken Tuesday night at Alberta Children’s Hospital after 10 hours waiting in the emergency room.

She was told she would receive results within 24 hours, with the sample flagged for priority testing, but she did not hear from the lab. When she contacted DynaLIFE, she found out her child’s swab was marked as “in transit” and its location was not known.

Roos eventually got a text from the doctor she saw at the ER early Wednesday morning notifying her that the strep test was positive.

“It was about 36 hours from the swab . . . to us getting results, and only because that doctor bypassed the notification system and contacted us directly,” Roos said. She said she’s noticed a marked decline in lab services in Calgary in recent years.

“It was obviously never perfect, but as of four or five years ago, just before the pandemic, you could get a blood work appointment in the community usually within the same day or at least within one or two days.”

DynaLIFE says expanded capacity coming to several locations

Other Calgarians who reported their recent interactions with DynaLIFE to Postmedia described varying experiences. Some said they were able to quickly book an appointment or attend walk-in without significant waits, while others said they’d only found appointments weeks in the future, and still faced long waits for testing and crowded waiting rooms when arriving at the clinic.

Several noted they found success by using DynaLIFE’s Save My Place booking function to receive same-day service without waiting as a walk-in.

DynaLIFE outlined in its statement to Postmedia that expanded capacity at some specific locations, including permanently expanded hours at Airdrie, Avenida, Cochrane, Glenbrook, McKnight and Riverbend locations in June, which will see 150 new appointments per day at each location.

It said it is also opening new clinics in the city’s northeast and northwest this month, and is identifying an expansion site in south Calgary to open in the fall.

Twitter: @jasonfherring


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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life




Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.


Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.


Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home



THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.




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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister



Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”


Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News



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