The setting of clear standards in healthcare as a condition of federal funding is the only path forward to a universal public system of long-term and continuing care. Seniors and people with disabilities deserve nothing less.A Higher Standard: Setting national standards for long-term and continuing care by Pat Armstrong and Marcy Cohen
The AUPE is calling for the intervention of Alberta Health Services at four long-term care facilities in the Calgary area that are dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. #yyc #COVID19AB https://t.co/xivCRovNAQ
— CTV Calgary (@CTVCalgary) February 2, 2021
“We have to figure out how we allowed this story to unfold in Alberta. Alberta is the outlier across Canada” @DrSamirSinha tells @globeandmail that NIA’s data on long-term care facilities and COVID-19 demonstrates the need for an investigation.https://t.co/ig7xDPbTBh
— National Institute on Ageing 🇨🇦 (@RyersonNIA) February 4, 2021
— Jo-Anne Beggs (@JoAnneBeggsRSW) February 7, 2021
CANADA LTC COVID Cases Feb 5, 2021
2531 Affected Homes
76871 Total Cases
Alberta’s Opposition NDP is calling on the government to scrap its continuing care review survey, claiming it is designed to justify the privatization of more long-term care services.
The public survey, which closes Tuesday, was launched Jan. 4 to gather input as the province sets out to rewrite the 35-year-old Continuing Care Act. A round of consultants’ reports are to be published in the spring, followed by new legislation this fall.
Housing and seniors critic Lori Sigurdson said at a news conference Monday the survey is framed to suggest the problem with continuing care is that there are limited opportunities to pay for services such as better meals or more one-on-one attention from staff.
“Treating people with dignity should be something that is not an additional service that must be paid for out of pocket,” she said.
Isabelle Emery has loved ones in continuing care and volunteers in a private facility, and said at the NDP news conference the survey’s methods bordered on “fraudulent.”
“The questions that are asked did not allow me to express my horror at the overall conditions in long-term care, which all need to be improved for every resident. And it did not allow me to express my concerns that for-profit operators might be hiring low-paid part-time staff with little or no protection or motivation to improve conditions,” she said.
Steve Buick, press secretary to Health Minister Tyler Shandro, called the NDP’s position an example of knee-jerk “private-is-bad” ideology.
“Continuing care is paid for by a mix of public and private funding – so we’re asking people if they’d like changes in how both private and public funding are used. If people don’t want to see more private payment or if they don’t want to pay more for any specific service enhancements, they should say ‘No.’ That’s the point of asking about it,” he said in a Monday statement.
There have been 1,078 COVID-19 deaths in Alberta’s long-term care and designated supported living facilities since the pandemic began, including at least 55 deaths at just one large public facility.
“This is a humanitarian crisis and a tragedy,” said Sigurdson, who renewed the NDP’s call for the government to launch a public inquiry into deaths in continuing care in Alberta.
Complaints about understaffing and underfunding have plagued Alberta’s long-term and designated supportive care system, which has 27,000 spaces, for years.
Quebecers 80 and older account for nearly three-quarters of the deaths attributed to the virus.
On March 18 of last year, Quebec recorded its first confirmed death from COVID-19. Mariette Tremblay, an 82-year-old mother of four and grandmother of nine, died after contracting the disease in her seniors’ residence in Lavaltrie, 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
A shaken looking Premier François Legault addressed the province the next day, saying: “If we needed proof of the gravity of the situation, we have it now.”
There were 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province at the time.
Less than 11 months later, Quebec recorded another sad milestone on the weekend, illuminating how grave the situation has become.
Quebec passed 10,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Sunday, as the province announced 32 fatalities. As the death of Mariette Tremblay foretold, the vast majority of those deaths would occur among the aged and those living in seniors’ residences and government-run long term care facilities.
CAREWATCH is Inspired by Carol Wodak founding member of CITIZEN WATCH
BACKGROUNDER: CITIZEN WATCH was created as a public service for the people of Alberta. It was the work of an ever-widening network of individuals from across the province, including families and friends of long term care and assisted or supportive living residents and those requiring long term care supports in their own homes. CITIZEN WATCH WEBSITE