Alberta Health Services is seeking proposals from new and existing continuing care facilities to add publicly funded spaces, with Bonnyville, St. Paul, and Vermilion among 31 communities being considered for the funds.
According to a press release from the provincial government, AHS is looking to expand continuing care spaces without additional investment, with the goal of building on the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative, targeting communities with the most pressing need for new spaces.
“Alberta seniors are cherished members of our communities. To meet their needs, we’re developing new continuing care spaces in priority communities across Alberta and continuing our government’s platform commitment to reinstate the Alberta Supportive Living Initiative,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
“Through this work, hundreds of Alberta seniors will have better access to high-quality continuing care close to family and friends – quickly and cost-effectively.”
Too often, seniors are forced to access the care they need outside of their home communities, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro in a press release.
“Seniors and vulnerable Albertans deserve high-quality continuing care close to home — too many Albertans are waiting in hospital for continuing care spaces,” he said.
“This initiative is part of our larger commitment to add continuing care spaces so seniors and vulnerable people can get the care they need in the communities they love.”
The operators are invited to submit proposals through an expression of interest (EOI) process if they have the room to operate new continuing care spaces, under contract with AHS.
“Every Albertan wants to age in grace and dignity, close to family and friends. Targeting priority communities means that more Albertans will have quicker access to continuing care closer to home” said board chair for the Alberta Continuing Care Association Jennifer McCue.
“This is a smart and sensible approach that will benefit Alberta seniors in communities across the province.”
“The Christian Health Association of Alberta has a long history of not-for-profit continuing care delivery across the province — many of our member organizations have operated in under-served communities for 100 to 150 years,” said vice-chair John Kopeck.
“We truly value the opportunity to continue serving vulnerable Albertans with a focus on communities with the highest need for additional spaces and services.”
The initiative is the first step in a larger plan of the government to expand continuing care and ensure communities most in need get support to open new spaces.
The 2020 budget includes $164 million over three years to increase the number of continuing care spaces available across the province through the current EOI and further initiatives.
According to the press release there are currently around 400 Albertans waiting for continuing care spaces to become available, and that the average wait time between 2019 and 2020 was 54 days.