RESIDENT AND FAMILY COUNCILS ACT A WELCOME STEP IN PROVIDING PATIENTS A VOICE
Friends of Medicare are applauding Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman for introducing Bill 22 the Resident and Family Councils Act.
"Resident and Family Councils are a great tool to give voice to residents of continuing care facilities and their loved ones," said Executive Director Sandra Azocar. "Friends of Medicare have been calling for this for years and it is great to see this step being taken."
Resident and family councils in continuing care have been a long standing recommendation through Friends of Medicare's advocacy work. During last years review of continuing care regulations, Friends of Medicare had recommended that Alberta support the establishment and continued function of Resident and Family Councils who are independent of facility or AHS management.
"We know there is still work to be done in improving our continuing care system," continued Azocar. "If Bill 22 passes it will allow for a greater role for those most impacted by facility decision making. Resident and Family Councils are an important venue for peer support during a time of transition, and will allow people to collectively recognize, highlight, and advocate for improvements to the collective concerns they may have."
"We have also reviewed the legislation in comparison with the Long-Term Care Homes Act in Ontario and believe there is room to make a good bill even better," added Azocar. "Ontario's legislation safeguards the independence of the councils by restricting management and staff from becoming members, and ensuring that facility management and staff only attend council meetings by invitation of the council."
"We also see sections of the Ontario Act that allow council members to review the detailed funding of the facility and amounts paid by residents. Financial transparency for publicly funded continuing care facilities is an important tool for public accountability. We hope that the Members of the Legislative Assembly are listening and propose amendments to improve what is already a good piece of legislation," concluded Azocar.