Nine years ago, the Auditor General delivered a report on Alberta’s long-term care facilities, and demanded health authorities and government take action to improve care for Alberta’s seniors.
Since then, significant work has gone into ensuring that Alberta’s seniors get the care they need and deserve, in a setting that enables them to live the happiest and healthiest lives possible.
Since 2005, AHS has focused on improving our management and monitoring of the care being delivered at Alberta’s 170 continuing care facilities.
It is a highly complex area of health care, as pointed out in the latest report by the Office of the Auditor General, released on October 7, 2014. Each patient or client has different care needs – our job is to ensure those needs are met.
It is important to note that the Auditor General praises both AHS and Alberta Health for the work they have done in this area since 2005. The October 7 report states the organizations have made “strong improvements”, and that there has been “strong movement in the right direction”.
For example, AHS has introduced a patient care funding model that directs funding towards the needs of individuals. This enables AHS to determine care needs and monitor outcomes for each resident. And that, in turn, allows for better oversight of each continuing care facility.
AHS works constantly with continuing care providers, with one goal in mind – ensuring residents get the care they need, in a timely and effective manner, and that that care is funded and provided by frontline staff with the required expertise and skills.
That is what Albertans expect and deserve, and that is what we must provide them, consistently, every day.
The Auditor General states that this work has led to “strong momentum”, but it is clear that more can and must be done.
In the October 7 report, the Auditor General makes two recommendations to AHS – improve monitoring of resident care; and improve monitoring and performance of long-term care facilities.
AHS has accepted both recommendations, and is already working to implement them. For example, AHS has committed to reviewing and revising site audits, and will conduct more unannounced and random audits.
And, AHS will develop an approach to monitor and assess care and staffing at all continuing care sites. This will be completed by March 31, 2015.
It is clear from the OAG report that more must be done to better monitor and manage the performance of our continuing care providers.
We are already working to improve our monitoring processes, to ensure that the required and contracted services delivered at all facilities are being met, providing residents with an adequate number and level of staff each and every day.
We are also developing a more stringent system to verify that care providers and facilities are meeting individual care plans of residents. We are confident this happens already, but we need to ensure providers are accountable, and that we have better oversight.
The Auditor General’s latest report is in tandem with what we believe and are working towards. Our seniors deserve the very best care, and that is what we must provide them.