Long-term care visitation ban ‘astonishing’: Towle

Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle says her party will continue to fight for Albertans who are banned from visiting family members in continuing care facilities.

Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle says her party will continue to fight for Albertans who are banned from visiting family members in continuing care facilities.

That includes a woman who has been banned for two years from seeing her father at a Covenant Health facility in Edmonton. Covenant Health won’t tell her why despite Alberta’s Ombudsman saying it was unfair and the privacy commissioner saying the woman deserved to know why.

Towle said there are 10 to 15 families in the province who face similar bans but are terrified of coming forward because they fear further repercussions.

“We hear this all across Alberta. We have a situation no different than this in Red Deer. That family does not want to come forward,” said the MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake on Thursday.

Towle said health-care officials tried to intimidate her on many occasions when she advocated for her brother, who was in long-term care.

He was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 2008 at age 32 and died in 2011.

“It happens all the time.”

She believed the health-care system is so broken and staff are so demoralized that they just can’t always deal with all the situations they face on the job.

“So when things get difficult, the go-to mechanism is to ban (family).”

She said family members are being banned from continuing care and long-term care facilities whether they are publicly or privately operated.

So far, the Conservative government refuses to help them, she said.

“Quite frankly, even if there was a reason to ban any of these families, there has to be a process to either appeal that ban or work through a mediation process to find agreeable outcomes.

“How do we not have a solution in place to figure this out?”

Towle said Alberta’s new health-care advocates put in place by the Tories can’t help because it’s not part of their mandate. They can only help Albertans navigate the health-care system.

She said Albertans would be outraged if parents were being banned from seeing their hospitalized children, but because it’s happening to seniors, it doesn’t seem to matter.

“It’s astonishing to me that we would ever let this happen. It’s astonishing to me that a lady has to go two years without seeing her father. How is that good patient care? If you want quality of life, that involves your family.”


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