No quick fixes to Alberta’s long-term care crisis

I find it extremely frustrating that our government time and time again puts forward some protocol or benchmarks to attempt to fix the healthcare crisis in Alberta.

They continually attempt to make quick short-term policies and neglect to address the real issues plaguing our healthcare system.

This PC government refuses to address the real issue in our local hospitals.

Every single acute care hospital in Alberta has elderly patients waiting placement for long-term care. These individuals by no fault of their own are sitting in these facilities for months and months waiting for a bed in LTC.

They are unable to live in their own homes anymore due to deteriorating health.

This government continues to view our seniors as second-class citizens. This government looks at these individuals now and sees them as a financial burden and refuses to address the needs of our elderly.

These people have raised their families, paid their taxes, and have been active contributors to our great province yet our local leaders see them as a burden on the healthcare system and want out of “the business of long term care.”

In Central Alberta, this government made the not so wise decision to close two LTC facilities and support a ‘for profit’ private LTC building.

This decision to cut 200 publically funded beds and support 220 private long term care beds is just one of the several blunders this government has made lately.

It is reported that there are approximately 252 people waiting placement in Central Alberta and they close 200 beds (and move those elderly patients to the new private facility).

According to my math there is enough individuals awaiting LTC to fill all three LTC sites and assist in the frustrating ‘bed shortage emergency crisis’ in this province.

Alberta Health Minister Gene Zwozdesky orders shorter wait times in hospital emergency room and places a time line on the length a person will need to wait before they are seen and admitted.

This is all great in a perfect health care world, but the Minister has failed to fix the real issue…if there are NO beds for these emergency patients to be placed into it does not matter if they waited 10 minutes or four days, the fact is there are no beds because there are so many elderly waiting for a LTC bed.

Mr. Zwozdesky must realize very soon the only way to fix the emergency room crisis is to have more LTC beds in this province.

T. Graham