February 2021… The Health Coalition of Alberta (HCA) has been very busy this year providing input into the two provincial government reviews of continuing care. Members joined us at a recent focus group to bring forward suggestions to improve facility-based continuing care. We completed the Government of Alberta’s online survey to ensure our feedback was captured for this review.
We were also invited to submit comments for consideration as part of the continuing care legislation review. The HCA document was built around five key issues and recommendations that complemented our member submissions or called out gaps from those members who were not asked for input by the government. This included:
1. The need to move to a relational model of care.
2. Entrenching the role of family / friend care partner as essential.
3. Creating an inclusive and supportive system that is focused on restorative care for all who live in facilities.
4. Assessment tools must be utilized, monitored, and updated to ensure resident needs are met (including appropriate dental care and access to medications aligned to public formularies).
5. Changes must be made to fully support Albertans’ ability to age in place, regardless of their income, family supports or community.
Thank you to those members who provided input to help shape the Health Coalition’s submission to the Continuing Care Legislation review. Your input is essential for me to be able to craft feedback for topics like this one. If you would like a copy of our submission and accompanying letter, please email HCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other recent developments include the tabling of this year’s provincial government budget. Seniors and continuing care received a 6% increase in this budget for a total of $3.5billion. This includes $736 million for home care, $1.6 billion for designated supportive living and $1.2 billion for long term care. $500 million has also been assigned to upgrade or create new facilities in next three years.
The Alberta Government stated its commitment to encouraging policies that allow seniors to stay at home longer, providing funds to sites in order to manage the COVID-19 requirements, upgrade existing LTC facilities and create new ones in priority communities and revamping homecare to better reflect patient needs. Min. Shandro stated that the facility-based continuing care review should be complete by as well as the legislation review. He hopes to bring forward new continuing care legislation in the Fall session.
This is a priority issue that the Health Coalition of Alberta will continue to follow and respond to as needed. We’d love to hear your thoughts as these changes roll-out. Please send us an email or join us as we continue to update members on this issue.