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Advocates tour province to promote public long-term care

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Taber Times

Smaller centres like Taber with public long-term care should be wary of any attempts to expand private care, a position supported by research from the University of Alberta’s Parkland Institute in their “Losing Ground” report.

That message will be front and centre of the tour carried out by advocates with Friends of Medicare and the Canadian Union of Public Employees when they stop in Taber on Monday, Nov. 28 at the Green Room of the Taber Community Centre at 7 p.m. for their presentation.

“The decades long trend of opening new private long-term care spaces while closing beds in places like Carmangay or Sundre needs to be reversed,” said Friends of Medicare Executive Director Sandra Azocar. “We were pleased to see the new government campaign to open 2,000 public long-term care beds that are owned and operated by the government. Now we need to see details and action on that promise.”

“As representatives of staff in both public and private care facilities, we were not surprised by the findings of the “Losing Ground” report,” said CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts. “Public facilities provide more hours of direct care per resident per day, which means better patient outcomes. The research shows public care centres spend more on front-line care, while private operators, including in the not-for-profit sector, are putting more hours into administration.”

Highlights of the “Losing Ground” report refer to research recommending a minimum 4.1 direct nursing care hours per resident per day. Even public facilities fall short and provide just 4.0 hours on average, while private not-for-profit homes drop drastically to 3.0 hours and only 3.1 hours in private-for-profit facilities.

“We are calling on the government not only to make good on their promise to open those 2,000 public beds, but to stop approving new private facilities. We provide the private sector with millions upon millions of dollars to both build and operate these homes, and what we see is we do not get value for our dollars with so many patients lacking in care in private homes,” added Azocar.

“The evidence is clear that public care is in the best interests of patients. We also see that at a time of finite resources for health care, public long-term care spends more on much needed front-line care staff. This shouldn’t be a difficult decision and we hope to see progress for Alberta patients and families,” concluded Roberts.

Roberts and Azocar’s presentation will be followed by discussion with the audience. The tour details a petition calling for 2,000 public long-term care beds and an end to new private facilities which is available online at http://www.friendsofmedicare.org/care.

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