Alberta’s government is honouring its 2019 platform commitment to bring back a new and improved Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) program.
Over the next four years, $400 million in operational funding will be allocated for new publicly funded continuing care beds. In total, more than 6,000 beds will be added or replaced to expand and upgrade Alberta’s publicly funded continuing care facilities.
Twenty-four communities were identified through a new and innovative procurement process that requires operators to pay for the capital cost of building new beds. This year, 343 beds will be added in Calgary, Edmonton, High Level, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Valleyview and Westlock. This is in addition to the 2,600 beds added in 26 communities in 2020. St. Paul made the list with 12 new beds added.
“The previous government cancelled ASLI in their first year in office and clearly didn’t have a plan to add new beds to the system or replace dilapidated facilities with shared rooms that don’t allow for privacy,” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health said. “We’re fixing that by bringing back a new and improved version of ASLI that will take care of our seniors and provide the high-quality care they deserve.”
The Facility Based Continuing Care Review Report identified more than 8,000 beds in facilities that are over 50 years of age and no longer meet current design requirements for safe and modern care. Report recommendation 31 indicates the province should focus government capital investments on the regeneration or replacement of existing FBCC spaces, with some funding earmarked for the development of new spaces where needed.
“Adding new beds to the system ensures that Albertans will be able to reside in a facility that provides them the right care at the right time, rather than at a hospital,” Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services said. “This increases our acute care capacity and ensures that the health-care needs of all Albertans are met in an appropriate setting.”
Acting on report recommendation 36, the phasing out of shared rooms in continuing care facilities began on July 1, including an immediate halt on admissions to rooms where there are already two residents.