Reader questions future of long-term care

Today we have received news that the Government of Alberta is going to close Michener Centre and that 50 senior people described as “medically fragile” are going to be absorbed into our long-term care system.

This is in addition to the potential 49 people who must leave Aspen Ridge Masterpiece because the company has cancelled its contract with Alberta Health Services and they cannot afford the high cost of private for profit long-term care.

Then we have people on the waiting list for long-term care now and those that will potentially need it over the next few years.

Where are the beds and services and trained staff for all of this going to come from?

Will they be provided by a provincially-funded and administered system as they are now or will they be placed in private for profit facilities?

What is going to happen to the present staff at Michener Centre who know how to support the specialized needs of the people in their care?

Will there be a mass layoff like we went through when the government shut down the Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor?

Change is not always a negative thing.

Sometimes change has to occur and when clients get the same level of care in a group home as they do in the institution then we can believe that it is an improvement in their quality of life.

How is the government going to assure that these people who are being moved out of Michener Centre will get the same level of care as they have received in the publicly administered system?

I do not think it is the will of Albertans to save taxpayer money at the expense of our most vulnerable people. We need to know these things will be in place before the doors close behind us.

Michener Centre sits on some pretty valuable land.

As a province we could benefit from the value of that property. How transparent is our government going to be about the use or sale of the property?

Will we know or will it have the same lack of transparency as we have had for almost three years with regard to the use of the buildings and land where the Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor sit empty?

Questions waiting to be answered.

But the most distressing question of all concerns how our system can absorb and properly care for our seniors who require long-term care.

Brenda Corney

Friends of Medicare Red Deer Chapter