There are concerns about the implications of a provincial review that recommends replacing 1,300 long-term care beds in Alberta with supportive living beds. (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives photo)

There are concerns about the implications of a provincial review that recommends replacing 1,300 long-term care beds in Alberta with supportive living beds. (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives photo)

Central Alberta seniors say the region can’t afford to lose more long-term care beds

Review recommends turning some LTC beds into supportive living beds in Alberta

Moving 1,300 seniors from long term into supportive living beds would increase costs to families and decrease care, say some Red Deer advocates, concerned about proposed changes to seniors’ care in Alberta.

It’s a “horrific” attempt to balance the provincial budget on the backs of older Albertans, as far as Margaret Day, a board member of the Central Alberta Council on Aging, is concerned.

“I think that’s very cruel,” adds Day, who predicts much “upset and distress” if the Alberta government acts on this recommendation, which is part of a provincial review of Alberta Health Services.

Ernst and Young was asked to examine all aspects of health care provision in the province, and the independent consultant came up with 57 proposals designed to improve care while cutting costs.

The most impactful one on Alberta seniors calls for potentially switching some 1,300 long-term care beds to designated supportive living beds. The less intensive staffing level that would result from the change would save the government $32 million.

But, by moving that many seniors out of long-term care, the government would no longer have to cover their medications, medical supplies and equipment. These costs would then shift to patients and their families, says Joel French, executive director of Public Interest Alberta.

“It will mean a significant increase in out-of-pocket costs.”

Not all of the recommendations will be adopted immediately, as AHS has stated some will take more exploring.

According to Alberta Health, the review recommends that seniors be placed in the right level of continuing care for their assessed needs, “so they can live as independently as possible. Placing people in long-term care when their needs don’t warrant it is inappropriate care; it’s bad for the patient and it’s bad for the system.”

French is also concerned about the reduced staffing levels proposed in the review, saying, “There is no other result possible from reducing staffing levels than to have lower quality care.”

Jane Grenier-Frank, president of the Central Alberta Council on Aging, feels this would have a “huge implication,” as she’s already hearing complaints about inadequate staffing levels in some long-term care facilities.

Grenier-Frank isn’t sure long-term care beds could be reduced in this area, as there’s an existing shortage of nursing home spots in central Alberta.

One women she knows has been transferred out of Red Deer hospital to Rimbey until a long-term care bed opens up in Lacombe. This woman hopes to end up in a Red Deer nursing home when there’s space, says Grenier-Frank.

Since another recommendation in the review calls for the further privatization of nursing homes, the Central Alberta Council on Aging plans to have a meeting to discuss these proposals with area seniors before deciding how to formally respond to government.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Anti-restriction protest underway in central Alberta despite injunction

A large crowd has gathered in the parking lot of the Whistle… Continue reading

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

Most Read