The Alberta government has launched a review of facility-based continuing care in the province. Its main mechanism for public input is a survey, conducted by accounting firm MNP. The survey itself is deeply flawed and reveals some disturbing directions the government is considering, including a significant privatization agenda across many areas of seniors’ care. The result, if these directions are embraced, will be much higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors and their families, and a system where quality care will depend even more on someone’s ability to pay, rather than their care needs.
We are encouraging Albertans to fill out the government survey and also to contact the Minister of Health’s office to express the concerns you have with the direction they’re considering. There are five main ways we see that the government could strengthen the continuing care system for all Albertans, and we hope these points can help guide the input you send to them:
- Get profits out of seniors’ care.
- Build a seniors’ care system that is easy to access and navigate.
- Legislate staff-to-patient ratios to ensure quality care. Working conditions for staff are care conditions for patients.
- Develop a system that cares for everyone, based on need, and not ability to pay. We need fewer out-of-pocket costs, not more.
- Legislate a Seniors’ Advocate position that is arms length from the government and whose focus is on reporting to the public on the state of the seniors’ care system.