Alberta’s continuing care residents will be bathed twice a week, according to new rules announced Tuesday.
Residents or their families can pick which type of bathing is best and the bathing schedule, as long as it meets the new minimum.
"This is more than an issue of health and hygiene for the residents of our continuing care facilities. It is an issue of dignity," said Health Minister Fred Horne in a statement. "By mandating a minimum number of baths, we can ensure residents are being cared for appropriately, and with the dignity they deserve."
The two-baths rule has been added to the standards that guide continuing care health services and apply immediately. The old rules didn't stipulate the number of baths.
Seniors Minister George Vanderberg says today's change came about after he looked into the situation.
"What really struck home for me is when I did some touring of some long term care and continuing care facilities that had younger Albertans staying in them, not just seniors," Vanderberg said.
According to a news release, the costs of the added bathing should be absorbed by the care provider or Alberta Health Services.
The issue was first raised Tuesday by Liberal MLA Kent Hehr, who had heard complaints from seniors and long-term care residents that they had to pay extra money if they wanted more than one bath a week.
"I’m happy the government looked into the issue and changes are going to be made," said Hehr in a statement on Tuesday. "But I will be cautiously optimistic until I see the practice in place with the proper funding to go with it."
In December, Premier Alison Redford suggested the province may not have the money to give seniors in long-term care more baths.