Home cooking to return to long-term care homes

Home cooking will soon be on the menu in long-term care facilities in Alberta.

Home cooking will soon be on the menu in long-term care facilities in Alberta.

Starting in December, the province will stop serving meals that are prepared in off-site kitchens to the 2,700 residents across the province.

In Central Alberta, this includes the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre, the Bashaw Care Centre and Sundre Hospital and Care Centre, the Consort Health Centre and the Coronation Health Centre.

Instead, Alberta Health Services will bring back working kitchens, something that was scrapped in 2009 to save money.

The reversal comes two months after the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees released its short documentary, Tough To Shallow: Meals That Sparked A Seniors Revolt.

The 14-minute documentary highlighted the poor quality of food being served in long-term care facilities including the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre.

Jim Ellwood, 75, a resident at Heritage House in the Stettler Hospital and Care Centre, was featured in the documentary.

Ellwood said the 50 people who live in his home were overjoyed with the news.

“We’re all very happy about it,” said Ellwood. “The meals will taste a lot better, look a lot better and have a better aroma to them.”

Ellwood said he is looking forward to enjoying better cuts of beef, fish and pork.

He said he has another 10 years to live and now he believes he won’t have as much indigestion.

Guy Smith, AUPE president, said the union had been advocating for the change for several months.

He said the government made the right decision. He said their members in these facilities were providing the best care possible but just didn’t feel right about the type of food they were serving.

Likewise Kerry Towle, the Wildrose seniors critic and MLS for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, said while this is a success for these 73 facilities, the fight is not over.

“I’m hoping the government will call an end to this practice of serving this food in any facility regardless of who it is serving,” said Towle. “They need to call for an end of it . . . If it’s not good for seniors then it really shouldn’t be served to anyone.”

crhyno@reddeeradvoate.com

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