Albertans Call on Government to Improve Home Care Services

Albertans Call on Government to Improve Home Care Services

EDMONTON — Friends of Medicare, and activists within the disability community are at the legislature today to call on the Alberta government to improve the province’s home care system. Our online petition containing more than 33,000 names of individuals who have signed in support of improved home care funding and services in Alberta will be tabled in the legislature after Question Period

Following recommendations in the Facility-Based Continuing Care (FBCC) review, the UCP government has repeatedly made clear their intention to shift the delivery of Alberta’s continuing care services to include a greater proportion of care in-community. But while disabled Albertans, seniors, families and advocates have long called for an expansion to our home care system, we have seen no meaningful investment to support this shift in care delivery. 

Funding in Alberta’s 2024 provincial budget didn’t even cover what’s needed to keep up with Alberta’s inflation and population growth, let alone increased demand for services. For the 127,000 seniors and disabled Albertans who depend on temporary or permanent home care each year, chronic underfunding has long equaled unmet care needs, out-of-pocket costs, and a reliance on unpaid family caregivers.

“Family caregivers make up nearly $12 billion dollars in unpaid labour in Alberta alone – that’s $12 billion this government is underspending on staffing every year. Disabled people in this province are faced with the reality that if we run out of friends or family to exploit, we will have to be institutionalized. We deserve to live in our communities without being punished for needing care.” — Daniel Ennett, Edmonton disability activist & filmmaker

“I live every day with the acute awareness that the only reason I am to get an education, be active in my community, and shape my own future is because my family is, for now, able and willing to help me pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs to cover my basic care needs. I am also aware that most disabled people in this province aren't as privileged or lucky as I have been. When luck is the sole determinant of our access to a safe and dignified life, our home care system is failing us. It is terrifying that limited resources are used as an excuse to dehumanize disabled Albertans.”” — Erin Novakowski, Calgary disability activist & student

“I can’t live my life or meet my needs in the home care hours allocated to me. Without reform and expansion of Alberta’s failing homecare system, the grim reality of institutionalization looms over me. The care insecurity crisis is one that affects every Albertan. Able-bodied is a temporary state, and a robust home care system is the only sustainable, ethical, and economical path forward. It is a systemic failure that demands our collective attention." — Karli Drew, Greater Edmonton Area disability activist, writer, creator & consultant

“Friends of Medicare is incredibly concerned that this shift signals the government’s plans to further contract out home care services to private, for-profit providers, which will only exacerbate existing issues in home care. Any promises to expand community care are effectively meaningless without a plan to staff it, compromising working conditions and leaving care needs of seniors and people with disabilities to continue to go unmet.” — Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare

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