Advocate file photo

Admission freeze lifted at Lacombe long-term care facility

Admission to Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre stopped last spring after care issues uncovered

Lacombe Hospital and Care Centre, which had been investigated for serious health issues, is once again accepting long-term care residents.

Alberta Health Services lifted a freeze on taking new residents at the facility after serious concerns were raised last May about about infection prevention, cleanliness, medication handling and training.

AHS chief zone officer Kerry Bales said on Friday since the freeze there has been a lot of work done with staff and leadership to “make sure the measures are in place that we need to be confident that quality care is being provided to the residents.


Serious concerns

Review complete

“We paused the admissions because we wanted to get the staff and the folks out there providing care the opportunity to really absorb the education and make sure good practices are in place.”

Everything from documentation and medication distribution to use of restraints and fall strategies were addressed.

“There’s a variety standards so we’ve looked at all of those elements to make sure that people are very clear on what the expectations are and they have the training and support they need to be able to provide that care.”

The 75-room facility has about two dozen spaces unfilled. Those will be filled gradually — about two a week — over the next several months.

Some seeking long-term care in Lacombe who had to go elsewhere will now have an opportunity to transfer to their preferred facility.

Reviews undertaken by AHS looked at clinical and administrative practices and found a general lack of respect for residents, a culture of dependency on the use of wheelchairs, inappropriate incontinence care, and competency concerns regarding professional practice and care delivery.

In March 2017, Wildrose leaked documents about the Lacombe investigation that showed serious breaches including: expired aseptic sterile supplies like catheters; soiled linen and garbage overflowing into hallways; and medication left unsecured, unlabelled, and unattended.

There was also a lack of proper training; in medication management and assistance, dementia care, risk management, fall prevention, CPR, palliative/end-of-life care, safe lifts, restraints, and bathing.

A 40-page audit detailed 80 standards breached. Four leaders at the facility lost their jobs with AHS.

Concerns were initially identified by Red Deer College licensed practical nursing students while training at the facility in March.

The Lacombe experience prompted a more rigorous audit process will be province-wide for publicly-funded continuing care facilities.

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