Alberta MLA slams once-a-week bath policy at care centres
Liberal MLA Kent Hehr says the one-bath rule comes directly from the province
Some Albertans living in long-term care facilities say for years they've only been able to have one bath a week.
The issue was first raised Tuesday by Liberal MLA Kent Hehr.
Hehr says he's angry the associate minster of seniors thinks one shower or bath a week for seniors and people with disabilities is acceptable.
"Alberta Heath Services is the owner of Carewest, so really it’s a policy of Alberta Health Services and it’s a policy of this government that people living in long-term care at the Dr. Vernon Fanning Centre are only getting one shower a week. It’s a clear line to the premier," Hehr said.
Today the associate minster of seniors responded. George VanderBurg says he will look into the issues with health minister, Fred Horne.
"I’m more than willing to have a look at the issue and to make sure that what’s being delivered is appropriate," VanderBurg said.
Tom McMeekin has lived at Carewest's Colonel Belcher Care Centre for seven years.
"When it first happened to me a long time ago, I was shocked," McMeekin said.
"Like most other people in society I was accustomed to many more showers than that." McMeekin now pays someone $80 a week to come in and give him two extra showers.
Otherwise he'd only be bathed once a week.
Nicola Birchall with the Canadian Paraplegic Association says beyond the indignity, bathing just once a week is health hazard, especially for people who are incontinent.
"You know all that bacteria's going to be on their skin. Personally I would say that, that would be a health concern."
Both Birchall and McMeekin say long-term care facilities simply don't have enough staff to bath people more often and blame a lack of provincial funding.
"I think long-term care is a priority, I don't think the government thinks that," Birchall said.