Protect Vulnerable Seniors Now
The Alberta Party calls on the provincial government to take tangible steps to solve the COVID crises in long-term care homes. Vulnerable Albertans are suffering from lack of action.
As more Albertans are effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly obvious that more than slight increases to funding are needed to protect vulnerable seniors. To date, 351 of the 551 reported deaths have been in long-term care facilities or supportive/home living sites. Residents in these facilities are also suffering from isolation and lockdowns being used as the primary means of keeping them safe.
It is increasingly obvious that significant new resources are needed to protect seniors.
Jacquie Fenske, Acting Leader of the Alberta Party: “A society is only as strong as its most vulnerable, and right now we are failing seniors. With targeted measures we can increase the safety of long-term care homes and limit deaths caused by COVID-19.
The number one job of government is to keep citizens safe. We are failing.”
Actions that would properly provide for the needs of long-term care homes include:
- Access Federal supplementary income programs for those working in long-term care facilities. Increased wages will attract new workers and eliminate the need to work in multiple facilities. The federal government has provided access to funding. It is long past time for the province to provide clarity on the program’s future.
- Professional Development for facility workers. Online courses and technical certification should be offered to long-term care workers. This will equip workers to better prevent tragedy from happening. It will also make this career more attractive and provide a stepping stone into the health care field.
- HVAC inspections and retrofits. Research is showing that proper ventilation and air filtration is a key measure to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The province should provide grant funding to upgrade HVAC systems in long-term care facilities which are in need of modernization or upgrades.
- Advocate for a Federal Emergency Response Team. This would create an important group within the federal government to respond to a number of domestic emergencies, and take the strain off of the Army Reserve, usually used when tragedy strikes.
By offering targeted support, we can turn the tide until a vaccine is made available, and Alberta must use the lessons learned to create a more resilient and safe system.