DSL 101: Understanding Designated Supportive Living

The Alberta Continuing Care Association hosted a DSL 101: Understanding Designated Supportive Living workshop that brought together provincial leaders from across Alberta representing government, the health authority and facility operators.

Bruce West, Executive Director of the Alberta Continuing Care Association (ACCA) started by giving the group a brief history of continuing care developments in Alberta that lead to the creation of DSL. 


Industry leaders provide the history and direction of DSL (left to right: Bruce West, Cheryl Knight and Ralph Hubele)


Cheryl Knight, Executive Director, Seniors Health Provincial with Albert Health Services (AHS) talked about the current state of DSL and future directions of DSL.  Cheryl defined Designated Supportive Living as: “Spaces contracted from an operator (or operated by AHS) for sole access of AHS within a congregate living setting.  The spaces are used for individuals assessed to require continuing care health services in a congregate living environment.”

A priority of AHS is to facilitate the building of more designated supportive living environments as they try to meet their goal of increasing continuing care spaces by 5,300 between 2010 and 2014.  AHS will also be implementing Activity Based Funding (already used in LTC) in DSL settings.

Ralph Hubele, Manager, Supportive Living Programs, Alberta Seniors and Community Supports re-affirmed the province’s move toward Supportive Living and also talked about their Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI), a program designed to increase the number of affordable supportive living options.

Panel offered participants expert advice to attendees (left to right: Doug Mills, Kathy Daly & Jeannette Leafloor)


In the afternoon a panel of DSL operators shared their experiences and lessons learned.  Kathy Daly, Director of Professional Practice & Development with The Good Samaritan Society talked about the communication required to ease family members’ concerns over the differences in services provided in a long term care setting versus a Designated Supportive Living environment.  Jeannette Leafloor, Lodge Manager, Aspen Ridge Lodge talked about the great satisfaction she has in caring for residents till the end of their lives.  Although it is not part of the DSL model, her organization hired a full time onsite Registered Nurse which she believes has improved the delivery of care.  Doug Mills, Director, Points West Living, created an onsite office for Alberta Health Services’ case manager.  This enhanced partnership between the operator and AHS has improved quality of care for residents.

The success of this workshop has opened up the possibilities of working towards great partnerships between government, Alberta Health Services and stakeholders.  Responses to the workshop overwhelmingly, had participants asking for more such workshops in the future.


Workshop Proceedings


DSL 101: Understanding Designated Supportive Living Workshop Proceedings


Workshop Information & Materials


ACCA Presentation - Designated Supportive Living: What are its origins - Presenter: Bruce West - Alberta Continuing Care Association

AHS Presentation (Designate Supportive Living 101) - Cheryl Knight

Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (Everything you wanted to know about ASLI and weren't afraid to ask) - Presenter: Ralph Hubele - Alberta Seniors and Community Supports

Panel Presentation - Transition to DSL from LTC - Kathy Daly - Good Samaritan Society

Panel Presentation - Sharing Operator Experiences - Jeannette Leafloor - Aspen Ridge Lodge

Panel Presentation - Connecting Care (2000) Inc - DSL Experience - Doug Mills - Points West Living

AHS Presentation (Future Designated Supportive Living) - Cheryl Knight - We apologize, this presentation will not be available.