Monday, December 15, 2008

Alberta trashes seniors - Again!

Summary: Long term care facilities in Alberta are for the very rich. If you do not quality, find a ditch to retire in!

EDMONTON – Health Minister Ron Liepert today announced a new strategy for continuing care called “Aging in the Right Place.” The success of that strategy will hinge on the government acknowledging the reality of the seniors population in every community across Alberta.

Unfortunately, the strategy fails to plan for the construction of any new continuing care beds, despite projecting a need for approximately 750 beds per year over the next 20 years. The new strategy suggests this need can be met by increasing home care services and moving some seniors out of long-term care and back into the community.

It is important to provide these options to seniors who are healthy enough to take advantage of them. However, as the 2005 MLA Task Force on Continuing Care noted, the health needs of Alberta’s seniors in continuing care are increasing and becoming more complex. It is unlikely that these needs can be met without the level of professional staff and services available in a continuing care facility.

"Albertans need to ask themselves whether they want such a big leap into private, for-profit senior's care delivery. Senior's will pay more, and long-term services will be in short supply."

While increasing "options" seniors might have in regards to service and accommodation, the strategy is to increase fee structures for senior's accommodation, and to freeze long-term care services at 2008 levels for an unspecified number of years.

Also, the change in fee structure for long-term care and senior's care facilities in the province is unacceptable. "Three years ago the fees for long-term care increased by 40% and this year there was an additional 6% increase. Now the government wants to adjust fees again 'to encourage more investment.' Merry Christmas for private health care providers," said Eggen.

Information provided by:

David Eggen
Executive Director
Friends of Medicare
780 423 4581
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