Community Supports & Services

Accessing additional resources can be particularly challenging for those experiencing a chronic illness like cirrhosis. Finding what programs and services you are eligible to receive can be difficult for you if you are not already familiar with your local community supports. That makes it especially important to connect with a social worker or your health care provider for assistance in accessing supports in your home community.

Homecare

Home Care provides help with activities of daily living that the client cannot do themselves or cannot get help with from another source; these are often activities that are considered necessary for you to safely maintain your independence, like personal hygiene, medication management, and assistance/assessments for medical equipment through Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL).

Anyone living in Alberta with a valid healthcare card can receive Home Care services, as long as their needs can be met safely in their place of residence. Ask your healthcare provider or social worker for more information, or contact Home Care by using the self- referral information below.

You can contact 8-1-1 by telephone to be connected to a home care office in your zone, or use the phone numbers below for a specific office near you.

Each number is staffed by Registered Nurses who can answer any questions and provide you with resources and supports available in your community. They are happy to discuss your healthcare needs, complete an assessment and send a referral to the most appropriate AHS healthcare provider or service.

Contact information by zone:
  • North: 1 (855) 371-4122
  • Edmonton: (780) 496-1300
  • Central: 1 (855) 371-4122
  • Calgary: (403) 943-1920 or 1 (888) 943-1920 (toll-free)
  • South
    • Bow Island: (403) 545-2296
    • Brooks: (403) 501-3244
    • Lethbridge and Area: (403) 388-6380 or 1 (866) 388-6380 (toll-free)
    • Medicine Hat: (403) 581-5750
    • Oyen: (403) 664-3651

 

Continuing Care

If you or your loved one requires extensive daily care, please contact 8-1-1 to begin the assessment process and have a case manager assigned. For additional information and frequently asked questions, refer to the AHS webpage on Continuing Care access

Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL)

Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) helps Albertans with a long-term disability, chronic or terminal illness to pay for basic medical equipment and supplies. [Adapted from Ministry of Health Alberta].
To be eligible, a clinical assessment by a health care professional is required. The health professional determine what equipment and supplies you can get through the AADL program. Learn how to apply for benefits here.

AADL is a cost-share program. Albertans pay 25% of the benefit cost to a maximum of $500 per individual or family per year. Low-income Albertans and those receiving income assistance do not pay the cost-sharing portion.
To view what is covered and what is not covered under the AADL program, refer to the Government of Alberta website

Homecare can assist you with the assessment process for accessing medical equipment and supplies through AADL. Ask your healthcare provider, social worker, or case manager for more information.

 

Accessible and Affordable Transit Services

Both cost and/or accessibility can be a barrier to people accessing public transit. Below is a list of accessible and affordable program options available to Albertans in communities with public transit networks.

Calgary Zone

Calgary Transit Access

Calgary Transit offers scheduled accessible transit trips at the same cost as a standard fare for eligible people with disabilities. Eligibility for service is determined on a case by case basis. Once your application form is received by the Calgary Transit office, they will schedule an in person interview to review your application with you and determine if you meet eligibility requirements. Eligibility requirements are based on your physical and/or cognitive ability to use regular Calgary Transit services.

To apply, fill out an application form (Sections A-G). You can request an application form be mailed to you by calling (403) 537-7770. Have a medical professional fill out Section G. Fax your completed application to: (403) 537-7812 or email your application to [email protected]

For more information, call (403) 537-7777, or visit Calgary Transit Accessible Service. 

 

Calgary Transit • Low Income Monthly Pass

The City of Calgary offers discounted monthly transit passes on a sliding-scale. To be eligible, you must be a resident of Calgary (proof of address required, PO Boxes, rural route addresses and bank statements are not accepted as proof of residency).
You also must meet one of the Fair Entry's eight ways to qualify for this and several other City subsidized programs and services.

To find out if you qualify, visit Fair Entry. Download the Fair Entry application form here. For more information about the Low Income Monthly Pass, click here

Edmonton Zone

Edmonton Transit System • DATS

Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS) provides specialized pre-booked transit for registered passengers. Eligible passengers must be 16 years of age or older, who have a severe physical or cognitive disability, and are unable to take conventional public transit for all or some trips.

DATS takes reservation bookings three days in advance of travel, two days in advance of travel, and the day before until noon. Subscription bookings are available for trips required on a regular basis.

Interested customers should contact the DATS Customer Care Centre at (780) 496- 4567 to learn more about DATS and to initiate the application. Applications are not available online, and must be first initiated by phone.

Edmonton Transit System • Ride Transit Program

The Ride Transit Program was designed to provide greater access to Edmonton Transit Service by reducing financial barriers for individuals and families in Edmonton. Through a partnership with the Government of Alberta, this program provides Adult and Youth monthly passes to eligible low income Edmontonians at a subsidized rate.  The program is intended to not only remove some of the financial barriers low income individuals experience when paying full fare to ride transit, but also to encourage the use of transit for work, appointments, recreation, education or any other activities.

If you are not a member of the city’s Leisure Access Program, fill out the Leisure Access and Ride Transit Programs Application form and submit it in person at the Edmonton Service Centre or by mail to:
Leisure Access & Ride Transit Program P.O. Box 2359 Edmonton, AB T5J 0J4

The normal approval process can take up to 8 weeks, depending on the time of year and number of applications received. Once approved, a letter or email will be sent to inform you and provide further information on the programs.

A one-time conditional pass may be issued based on qualifying criteria (such as completed application and required support documents) at the Edmonton Service Centre (2nd Floor, 10111 - 104 Avenue). Some conditions may apply.

St. Albert Transit • Handibus Service

Handibus is a service offered by St. Albert Transit (StAT) designed to assist in meeting the mobility needs of residents, 16 years of age and over, who cannot use our conventional transit services due to a physical or cognitive disability.
As of October 1, 2014, St. Albert Transit partnered with DATS (the City of Edmonton's Disabled Adult Transit Service) to to provide Handibus service to St. Albert clients. DATS will be providing the booking, scheduling, and dispatch functions on behalf of St. Albert Transit.

Please note: All St. Albert Transit's regular fleet of conventional buses is fully accessible and equipped to permit easy entry by persons using wheelchairs, scooters or those with mobility restrictions and operate on all local transit routes and on commuter routes to and from Edmonton.

For more information on the Handibus program and how to apply call (780) 418-6060 or, visit the website here.

Strathcona County Transit • Mobility Bus

Mobility Bus is a door-to-door, shared ride, accessible public transit service operated by Strathcona County Transit. It is intended for those persons who, due to a physical or functional limitation, cannot use the fixed-route service (regular public transit service provided by Strathcona County) including commuter routes and local routes.

Mobility Bus trips must be arranged in advance and are scheduled to allow for as many riders as possible to get to their destinations on time and efficiently. For more information, contact (780) 449-9680. You can access this phone number to order a hard copy of the application form, or you can download and complete one here.

Central Zone

Red Deer Transit • Action Bus (Paratransit)

The Action Bus is a door-to-door public transportation service operated by Red Deer Transit for trips that cannot be completed on regular transit because of a physical or cognitive disability. The Action Bus is a shared-ride public transportation service. Wheelchair lift equipped vehicles are used to provide Action Bus service. Vehicles used are clearly identified as City of Red Deer Action Bus vehicles.

For more information, or if you require transportation, please phone (403) 309-8400 or refer to the Red Deer Action Bus Information Guide. You can fill out or print an application here.

South Zone

Lethbridge Transit • Access-A-Ride

Access-A-Ride (AAR) is a city of Lethbridge service for people who are unable to use the regular public transit service with safety and dignity. AAR is a shared ride public transportation service that operates within the City of Lethbridge, it is not a direct ride service. Service is provided on an accessible door-to-door basis, providing a safe and secure trip from origin to destination.

Eligible clients must register before they can begin booking trips on ACCESS-A-Ride. The registration is in two parts. Complete an application form along with a medical assessment—completed by a physician, occupational therapist, or physical therapist.
There is no registration fee, but you must meet the eligibility requirements and you are responsible for any charges incurred at your doctor's office if they do charge to fill out your registration form.

For more information or for assistance, please contact 3-1-1 by telephone or refer to the City of Lethbridge website for the Access-A-Ride program.

Medical Transportation

NIHB Medical Transportation

The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program provides registered First Nations and recognized Inuit with coverage for a range of medically necessary health benefits when these benefits are not otherwise covered through private or provincial/territorial health insurance plans or social programs.

NIHB benefits include funds for medically necessary medical-related travel for services not provided in your home community.

Contact Medical Transportation at the NIHB Alberta regional office:Non-Insured Health Benefits Canada Place 9700 Jasper Avenue, Suite 730 Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4C3
Telephone: (780) 495-2708 Toll free: 1 (800) 514-7106

You can also contact your band worker or have your social worker assist you in accessing NIHB benefits, including medical transportation and medical escort funding.

Hope Air

Hope Air is Canada’s only national charity providing free flights to low-income Canadians who must travel to medical care that does not exist in their communities.

Please read the information below and answer the preliminary eligibility questions to ensure you are ready to make a travel request. You may also preview the form before
you begin to ensure you have all the required information before starting.

For more information, call 1 (877) 346-4673 or visit the Hope Air website

Leisure Programs

Both cost and/or accessibility can be a barrier to people accessing leisure and recreational programs. Below is a list of accessible and affordable program options available in Edmonton and Calgary for persons with limited means or accessibility concerns.

Calgary

Fee Assistance through the Fair Entry program gives eligible people access to 75% off the preschool, child/youth, adult or senior rate of admission costs to participating City of Calgary facilities. In order to get access to Calgary Recreation's Fee Assistance Program, each applicant must first be approved by Fair Entry. For application information please visit Fair Entry.

Note: Once you are approved for The City's Fair Entry program (and have chosen Calgary Recreation Fee Assistance), you can attend any Calgary Recreation leisure centre or aquatics centre to receive your Calgary Recreation Fee Assistance Card and begin using it right away.

To apply the subsidy, registration cancan only be done in person at any City of Calgary Facility or through the Program Registration line: (403) 268-3800.

Fair Entry can be used for recreation programs offered by The City of Calgary. Programs listed in the Recreation Program Guide are eligible for Fee Assistance (some exceptions apply). For more information click here

Edmonton

The Leisure Access Program (LAP) allows eligible low-income Edmontonians to access participating City of Edmonton recreation facilities through an annual pass or a subsidized monthly pass.

Renewal for LAP occurs annually, and you must provide proof of income, either a CRA Notice of Assessment, or equivalent (i.e. AISH/Income Support health benefits card). View the eligibility requirements here

To apply, complete an application form along with your supporting documents at the main office on the second floor of Edmonton Tower or by mail. You can phone 3-1-1 for assistance, to request an application sent to your address, or for information on your nearest participating facility.

Tax Clinics

A free tax clinic is a place where eligible people can go to get their tax returns done for free. Free tax clinics are hosted by community organizations across Canada, through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. There are different types of free tax clinics:

  • Walk-in: you show up during advertised hours and a volunteer will do your tax return for you on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • By appointment: you make an appointment to see a volunteer at a time that suits you.
  • Drop-off and pick-up: you show up during advertised hours and drop off your documents for a volunteer to do your return at a later time.

You have to prove your identity when you pick up your return and documents.

You can call 2-1-1 or your community’s municipal office directly for more information about free tax clinics in your area. You can also refer to the Government of Canada website database to find available tax clinics in your community

Many benefit programs require you to demonstrate financial need, and your most recent annual income. That makes filing your taxes regularly a very important step in accessing available supports. Ask your social worker, or have your care provider refer you to a social worker for assistance in finding tax clinics and other income resources.

References:

The information on this page was adapted (with permission) from the references below, by the Cirrhosis Care Alberta project team (physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, registered dietitians, physiotherapists, pharmacists, and patient advisors).

This information is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare team. They know your medical situation best. Always follow your healthcare team’s advice.

References: 

  1. US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration 
  2. Canadian Liver Foundation
  3. Alberta Health Services
  4. Ministry of Health Alberta
  5. Calgary Transit
  6. City of Calgary
  7. City of Red Deer
  8. City of Lethbridge
  9. Edmonton Transit Services
  10. Government of Canada
  11. Hope Air 
Last reviewed March 15, 2021

 

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