EDMONTON - The office of the Auditor General has released new reports looking at long-term care in Alberta and evaluating our initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They concluded that “insufficient preparedness, severe care staffing shortages, and outdated infrastructure were among the key findings in the newly released Report of the Auditor General—COVID-19 in Continuing Care Facilities.”
“These reports clearly lay out how we’ve failed seniors in long term care, especially during the early days of the pandemic. But they also highlight the systemic issues we’ve been raising in seniors care in Alberta for many years,” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “The infrastructure challenges, the chronic understaffing, reliance on a precarious workforce without job security, or benefits or paid sick days. Ultimately, it all comes back to Alberta’s approach to long term care which treats seniors as commodities, prioritizing profits over providing quality care.”
Decades of underfunding and chronic understaffing in seniors' care have spelled disaster for seniors in our province, especially during the pandemic. The Auditor General’s reports show that Alberta seniors deserve better than what we’ve been doing, and the need for a new approach.
“Alberta seniors deserve better than the status quo,” said Brad Lafortune, executive director of Public Interest Alberta. “This means our provincial government taking action with things like adopting the new national long-term care standards, bringing back an independent Office of the Seniors Advocate, improving work conditions so that facilities aren’t relying on a low paid precarious workforce, implementing things like paid sick days for all workers, and ultimately taking back control of the system by removing profits from the equation for seniors care.”
- 30 -