QUESTION: Are more and more costs for long term care services being shifted onto residents and their families?

ANSWER: Yes. The government of Alberta made a conscious decision during the 1990s, particularly following release of the 1999 “Broda” report, to reduce government spending and avoid future costs by shifting more of the costs and responsibilities for long term care environments and care-related goods and services to individuals and their families – regardless of the site of care. One method of accomplishing this goal has been to shift individuals with high health care needs into new “community-based” models of private care housing (e.g. designated assisted living) and limit the scope of publicly funded goods and services in these settings.

Historic accommodation fees have also been redefined and increased for residents in traditional long term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes and auxiliary hospitals) as well as residents assessed as requiring care in acute care hospitals and mental health facilities.

For more information about the strategies used to unbundle and shift costs to recipients of care and their families, and the impact of these decisions, see the Executive Summary of Eldercare on the Auction Block: Families Pay the Price (2002) by the Consumers Association of Canada (Alberta).