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Nakoda Lodge on schedule to open as treatment centre in late January

The transition of Nakoda Lodge from a recreational tourist destination to chronic pain treatment and addictions centre is well underway, with an opening tentatively slated for late January. The overall response from the Nov.

The transition of Nakoda Lodge from a recreational tourist destination to chronic pain treatment and addictions centre is well underway, with an opening tentatively slated for late January.

The overall response from the Nov. 14 community consult was positive, whereby Morley community members had the opportunity to share their concerns and have their questions answered by Dr. E. Lyle Gross (project head), Nation elders and healers and Wesley chief and council.

"The community wants to make sure that sacred practices are maintained," explained Hopeton Louden, CEO of Wesley First Nations.

What sets the treatment centre apart from others in its class is that it handles patients who are suffering from addictions or from chronic pain.

All patients will be treated medically and psychologically through a combination of traditional First Nations practices and Western medicine - a marriage of the two practices. The care will be not only for First Nations persons, but for non-Aboriginals, as well.

"The community members (Morley) are directly involved and we are meeting regularly with those in the community who also suffer from disabling pain and related addictions issues," explained Gross.

In this early learning process, Gross is meeting with physicians and clinicians from the greater Calgary areas, as well as elders, healers and staffers at the Stoney Medical Centre.

"There's an ongoing dialogue with all levels of government, including Health Canada and Alberta Health," said Gross, adding that there are many stakeholders involved with the project and he's currently experiencing a flood of interest from possible third party funders, as well as other treatment clinics.

"We just want to make sure we have the best facility up and running as possible," said Gross, who said he's thrilled about the "marriage" of First Nations healing practices and Western models of medicine that will be at the core of the centre's approach.

Gross is a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, with an extensive history in the field of treating and rehabilitating those living with pain or suffering from pain medication overuse and abuse. His resume includes work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., former director of the Alberta Workers Compensation Board and the former Gross Rehabilitation Centre in Edmonton; his work with First Nations groups and third world nations has been extensive.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to Danielle Mark, executive program assistant at 403-881-0009, ext. 26.

For more information visit gremote.org.


Lindsay  Seewalt

About the Author: Lindsay Seewalt

Lindsay is a senior Eagle reporter who has transformed her penchant for storytelling into the craft of writing.
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