Bethany care centres cutting staff
Resident care is expected to suffer when staffing cuts are made at Bethany Care Society centres in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.
Bethany Care Society announced on Wednesday that its operations, including six care centres in Central and Southern Alberta, would had to align staffing with the new Alberta Health Services funding model for long-term care.
The change means the loss of about 53 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. Since a high percentage of these positions are part-time, the actual number of employees affected will be greater. The number of reductions will vary from site to site.
Bethany Care Society officials were unavailable for comment late Wednesday afternoon.
Brenda Corney, who sits on the provincial board for Friends of Medicare and is the chair of the Red Deer chapter, questioned who will be responsible for a lack of care because there’s not enough staff.
“Why is it that the most vulnerable people are the ones affected by government cuts?” said Corney.
Nursing homes shouldn’t receive money so they can make a profit, but the government should be covering the cost of care, she added.
Corney wondered who was doing the evaluating of patients under this new model, and under what circumstances.
“If somebody comes to a home and evaluates (an individual) when they are good and maybe they are good one day out of 10,” said Corney.
Bethany Care Society reports the new funding model assesses each resident’s level of care and assigns a dollar value based on where the resident’s care needs rank against a provincial average. The funding values are weighted more heavily for residents with complex care needs and rehabilitation focused care, versus those with lighter care needs, including those with dementia care.
“The implementation of the new model has not increased overall funding for long-term care in Alberta, but rather is simply a method for redistributing the existing dollars,” said Greer Black, president and CEO of Bethany Care Society, in a news release.
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees is demanding an end to Alberta Health Services’ funding cuts that have led to these cuts in Calgary, Cochrane, Airdrie and Red Deer.
AUPE President Guy Smith praised Bethany for encouraging families to hold their local MLAs accountable for the funding cuts and encouraged AUPE members to do the same.
“Obviously our members who work the front lines are concerned, but also it’s a shock to the families who entrust their care of their loved ones,” said Smith. “I know that Bethany was anticipating this funding model coming in, but I don’t think they anticipated how much of a hit. Any long-term care centre across Alberta is already stretched to the limit.”