The Alberta government is putting together an action plan for implementing 42 recommendations for modernizing the province’s long-term care system.
Health Minister Tyler Shandro released the final report Monday, saying it would help to shape the future of Alberta’s facility-based long-term care system, including updating the design guidelines for continuing care facilities and using capital funding to expand on the types of facilities throughout the province.
The review also took into account lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, which took a major toll on long-term care residents and staff in the earliest stages of the health crisis.
“Alberta’s government promised that we would strengthen and modernize continuing care for every resident and family, and this review is a concrete plan to do that,” Shandro said.
“It will help us make continuing care better and safer, including applying the lessons learned from the pandemic and the losses suffered by too many families.”
Shandro said the action plan will be in place by the fall, and will see some changes be implemented immediately, with others taking place over months and years.
The first change to be implemented — not assigning new continuing care residents to a shared room that already has two residents — will take effect on July 1, Shandro said.
The room setup, known as “ward rooms,” will also be phased out at any facility in which it’s currently being used.
As multi-resident rooms were identified as a driver of spread of COVID-19, the province set a goal to eliminate all multi-resident rooms across the province.
Shandro said Alberta is also committing to supporting couples living in continuing care centres so they can continue to do so, if they want.
Also on July 1, public reporting of continuing care performance will be expanded to include information on site-specific audits and inspections.
The province is also launching a grant to support Indigenous groups looking to access continuing care services close to them.
Alberta’s community care options are also being expanded, to allow more people to receive the care they need from the comfort of their own homes.
By 2030, the province expects the demand for continuing care services in Alberta will increase by 62 per cent.
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