Media releases | April 28, 2015

EDMONTON—Friends of Medicare and Public Interest Alberta spoke out today about the crisis in Alberta’s homecare system and called on all political parties to explain how they are going to solve the issues that are impacting on seniors and their families.

Two families presented disturbing stories about their terrible experiences with Alberta’s homecare system.  These stories illustrate how systemic shortages of homecare support are causing huge stress on families and contradict government promise to support seniors to stay in their own homes as long as possible.

“Our experience is that AHS management’s focus is on off-loading healthcare costs and medical responsibilities onto vulnerable patients and their families,” says Carol Anne Kunicki who supports her 88-year-old mother, Stefania. “My mom’s health, well-being and quality of life are at serious risk because of management choices to constantly cut back care and the human cost is rising each day.”

“My 94 year old mother, Elfriede, has survive many things in her life and she should not have to suffer from inadequate care causing a hole in her leg, the indignity of her son having to deal with her incontinence issues and have officials make threats of reprisals for speaking out,” said Bob Bischoff. “My mother and I have suffered through the contradictions of this government’s rhetoric  saying they “allow seniors to age gracefully at home”, while in practice we are being repeatedly told she should go into a seniors home rather than be provided the appropriate levels of funding and staffing to allow her to stay in her home.”   

“The government has promised repeatedly that seniors would be allowed to age where they reside with dignity and respect, said Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare.  “They should follow through on that promise by ensuring that Albertans receive home care services that are reflective of best practices and not driven by the austerity budget that we saw tabled this March. Quality of care should always be the top concern.”

“It is shocking that the crisis of homecare has not been fully debated during the election and that the government has not been held to account for the lack of action to solve these issues hurting so many seniors,” says Noel Somerville, Chairperson of Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force. “Last month we presented our clearly laid out position paper calling for a comprehensive, universal and publicly delivered home care system to Health Minister Mandel. While acknowledging that home care improvements were necessary Minister Mandel said that families should be more responsible for looking after their family members.”

- 30 -