Media releases | October 07, 2014

ALBERTA: The Auditor General’s report into Long-Term Care Facilities in Alberta fails to review a number of systemic inadequacies in the province’s seniors care system.

EDMONTON—“It is disappointing that the Auditor General makes no reference to the increasing need for long-term care spaces, which is causing so many seniors, many occupying acute care beds, while they await placement” says Noel Somerville, Chairperson of Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force. “The report notes that there are around 14,000 long-term care beds in Alberta, fewer in fact, than the number back in 2005, despite a significant increase in the number of seniors.”

“The Auditor General raised important concerns about the lack of monitoring of facilities to assure that staffing levels and the quality of care services is meeting the needs of the care plans for patients and calls for periodic unannounced checks on facilities,” says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta.  “However, unlike the 2005 report that showed over 31% of facilities were not meeting care standards, there was no attempt to assess the current level of care and compliance with standards in this report.”

“The AG seems to accept that the patient-based funding allocation system that divides a pre-determined amount of funding from the Treasury Board by facility is providing enough quality care staff, without doing any assessment to determine if these care needs are actually being met,” says Somerville.  “The AG notes that level of acuity of seniors in long-term care has gone up, but then fails to assess if the $173/day of funding provided on average to facilities is enough to meet the care needs. The funding system needs to be changed to make sure the care needs of patients are actually  being met.”

“So many families with loved ones in long-term care have spoken out about the lack of adequate staffing in private for-profit facilities, yet the AG makes no assessment as to the quality of care provided by these corporations,” says Moore-Kilgannon.  “While we have seen over the past 10 years a significant increase in the number of for-profit long-term care beds, and a reduction in public and not-for profit beds, no attempt was made by the AG to assess whether Albertans are getting value for money through these corporate long-term care contracts.”-30-