Government Promises in a Nutshell

CITIZEN WATCH developed the following summary from information in the May 9, 2005 Press Release by the Ministers of Health and Wellness and Seniors and Community Supports which responds to the release of the Auditor General’s Report on Seniors Care and Programs (2005). The summary highlights key actions promised by both Ministries, independently and jointly, to fulfill the Auditor General’s recommendations for major reform. CITIZEN WATCH will endeavor to monitor and report to the public on the outcome of those promises.

The Minister of Health and Wellness promises to:

1. Develop new Continuing Care Health Service Standards which will:

apply to long term care facilities, assisted living, supportive living and home care services

focus care practices around the needs of the individual

require development of a care plan for each client, and focus measuring and reporting on the effectiveness of care provided to each individual

clearly spell out responsibilities of clients and their families, health care providers, operators, Regional Health Authorities and the Department of Health and Wellness

include provisions for monitoring and reporting on long-term care facilities’ compliance with health service standards and legislation

establish a process for regular reviews and upgrading of standards to meet professional best practices

2. Implement improved resident assessment tools to measure the quality and effectiveness of services and show whether individual care needs and provincial goals are being met

3. Increase the daily average care hours for each resident in long term care facilities from 3.1 to 3.4 by 2005/2006.

4. Develop a training program for health care aides

5. Introduce more frequent, unannounced quality assurance visits to long-term care facilities with quality improvement and monitoring teams composed of clinical and management operations specialists

6. Develop standardized elements for contracts with long-term care providers

7. Conduct a stakeholder review of proposed health and accommodation service standards by the end of August 2005

NOTE: CITIZEN WATCH believes it is also important for the Minister to clearly explain to the people of Alberta exactly what goods and services are now being separated out and classed as “health” and what goods and services are now being separated out and classed as “accommodation” … and WHY.

Government Promises in a Nutshell

The Minister of Seniors and Community Supports promises to:

8. Develop accommodation standards for long-term care, assisted and supportive living environments, and seniors’ lodges and implement a system to regularly review and update these standards

9. Establish a system to monitor compliance of facilities’ with accommodation standards.

10. Establish reporting requirements on accommodation-related expenses from facility operators

11. Update public lodge standards and monitor compliance with revised standards

12. Improve processes for identifying the increasing care needs of lodge residents

13. Annually monitor lodge rental rates in relation to the minimum disposable income of seniors

14. Review whether Alberta Seniors Benefit (ASB) Program is currently meeting the financial needs of seniors, and develop models and datasets to better identify seniors’ financial needs.

Government Promises in a Nutshell

BOTH Ministers promise to work with Regional Health Authorities to:

15. Collect more information to support accommodation rate changes and health care service funding decisions.

16. Develop long-range plans and report publicly on progress towards goals identified in the plans.

17. Improve systems for monitoring compliance with standards

BOTH Ministers promise to:

18. Work to ensure that a variety of services are available and accessible, emphasizing both quality of life and quality of care, and promoting independence to the extent possible.

19. Work with those in care and their families to clearly understand and respond to residents’ individual medical, physical and social needs