Long Term Care
Nowhere have we seen the corporatization of seniors care more than here in Alberta. As of 2014 Alberta had 6313 public seniors care beds versus 9383 private for profit beds and 6922 not-for-profit beds.
Even though the care required by those assessed as needing Long Term Care (LTC) is clearly medically necessary, LTC facilities are not covered under the Canada Health Act. This has allowed previous Alberta Governments to reduce expenditure of public money on seniors care. One concerning trend for Albertans is that despite seniors numbers continuing to rise the number of LTC beds has been falling. We have instead seen a rise in Supportive Living beds which do not provide the level of medical care many Seniors will need in their later years.
The 2013 Parkland Institute Report: From Bad to Worse: Residential elder care in Alberta, found that using private companies to run seniors homes is a flawed policy. The study revealed that private assisted living facilities received high return rates on investments but provided a lower quality of care than public assisted living facilities.
The report was clear that these facilities are understaffed by 90 minutes per resident each day. This translates into approximately an hour and a half of care missing every day in for-profit facilities for Alberta residents in care.
The previous government’s Continuing Care strategy created a system, where choice and quality of care have been seriously compromised and will continue to be so unless our new government makes real commitment to phasing out private for profit elder care and expanding our public health care system to encompass continuing care services, including all residential and home-based forms of elder care.