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Alberta to scale back long-term care: NDP

Alberta’s plans to shift seniors care to the private sector have beenrevealed in detail for the first time in a planning document leaked tothe NDP.

Alberta’s plans to shift seniors care to the private sector have been revealed in detail for the first time in a planning document leaked to the NDP.

The 60-page draft consulting report prepared for the province’s long-term care branch in May outlines plans to scale back the ratio of nursing home and other long-term-care beds while increasing assisted-living spaces.

The NDP said this makes no sense because the waiting list for long-term-care beds has tripled in recent years.

Many seniors, especially those with dementia, need to be in nursing homes, NDP Leader Brian Mason told a news conference yesterday.

“Seniors who need a high level of care will end up in assisted living, where they don’t get that care,” said Mason.

Seniors who can’t find the kind of long-term care they need will end up in crowded hospitals, Mason added.

“That backs up the emergency rooms and creates waiting lists for everything,” he said. “So the government strategy not only fails seniors, but it also creates very serious problems for our hospitals.”

The leaked document says long-term care would be reduced to 20 per cent of total care space in Alberta, down from the current level of 40 per cent, according to the NDP.

Designated assisted living would be boosted to 60 per cent, while supportive living would make up the remaining 20 per cent.

But Seniors Minister Mary Anne Jablonski insisted yesterday that the government has yet to decide on any new policies for long-term care.

“No decisions have been made,” said Jablonski. “We will look at having the right number of beds in the right places for our seniors so that they can get the right care in the right place.”

 
 
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