Government action on long term care only a drop in the bucket

EDMONTON, AB (March 16, 2015): Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann says the government is not doing enough to create more seniors care alternatives in this province.

“The lack of nursing home beds is a direct cause of our long wait times in hospitals,” says Swann. “As a result of poor planning, we have an incredible need for these beds and the government simply isn’t doing enough.”Fotolia_56950873_S.jpg

Swann’s comments come in response to a new report by Dr. Donna Wilson, Professor of Nursing at the University of Alberta, which found that 20,000 more nursing home beds are needed in Alberta.

“Our inability to move patients out of hospital beds and into their needed level of care is preventing the proper functioning of our system, and costing us hundreds of millions of dollars per year,” says Swann. “We need to get more beds opened, and find ways of getting patients out of hospital and where they should be.”

The Prentice Conservatives recently promised an additional 1,500 seniors spaces by handing out ASLI grants mostly to private, for profit providers of seniors care. These spaces will not provide the higher level of care that many seniors need, and will leave many still waiting in hospital.

“Given the PCs record with new schools, Family Care Clinics, the Calgary Cancer Centre and Highway 63, I’m skeptical we will see those 1,500 spaces,” says Swann. “But the truth is those spaces, even if built, still will not provide the care that our seniors need.  We need nursing homes not seniors’ condos.”

Alberta Liberals would better fund prevention, provide more funding for home care and continuing care, support for frontline workers, and ensure better management of Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services.