Quality of life in Alberta supportive living facilities varies widely, survey suggests

The quality of care provided at supportive living facilities in Alberta ranges widely, according to a set of surveys released Wednesday by a provincial agency that monitors patient safety and health services in the province.

Health Quality Council of Alberta asked residents and families about food, kindness of staff

A pair of new surveys suggests the perceived quality of care at Alberta supportive living facilities varies widely. (Shutterstock)

The quality of care provided at supportive living facilities in Alberta ranges widely, according to a set of surveys released Wednesday by a provincial agency that monitors patient safety and health services in the province.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) surveys asked residents and their families to rate their impressions of the province's nearly 10,000 publicly-funded beds designated as supportive living.

Among residents, the overall care rating at 146 supportive living facilities ranged from 6.0 to 9.6 on a scale of 10.

The overall care rating at the facilities ranged from 6.7 to 9.8 in the survey of family members.

"While residents at some facilities experience exceptional care, residents at other facilities have experiences that are less than ideal," said council CEO Andrew Neuner in a release.

"Those facilities with high scores demonstrate that it is possible for residents and families to have very positive experiences."

The surveys were conducted from May to December last year using either in-person interviews or mail-in paper forms.

The province defines supportive living facilities as those where seniors, and others who cannot live independently, receive one of four levels of care. The HQCA survey looked at facilities offering Level 3 and Level 4 care.

Residents are generally responsible for paying for their room, meals, housekeeping and other optional services in supportive care facilities.

HQCA calls for action on survey results

In the survey completed by residents of 23 supportive living facilities in Calgary, the McKenzie Towne Retirement Residence received the highest rating: 9.4 out of 10. It was the only facility rated higher than nine.

Eleven facilities were rated seven out of 10 or better, while 10 got eight or better.

Kingsland Terrace had the lowest ranking at 6 out of 10.

"We are calling on designated supportive living provider organizations across the province, Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Alberta Health to come together and act on these survey results and provide residents with the best experience possible," Neuner said.

In the survey completed by family members, among the 25 facilities surveyed in the Calgary zone, four received an overall rating of nine out of 10 or higher, and 20 scored eight out of 10 or higher.

The lowest overall rating of 7.3 went to the Rocky Ridge Retirement Community.

Three facilities — the Whitehorn Village Retirement Community, Aspen Ridge Lodge and Prince of Peace Manor — were rated at 9.1 overall.

The survey's resident participation rate was 59 per cent, reflecting the views of 7,400 Albertans — including 4,600 family members and 2,800 residents.

The survey of Calgary residents found that 15 out of 23 were scored 90 out of 100 or higher on their "propensity to recommend." Among the 37 Edmonton facilities, 20 scored 90 or higher on that measure.

Other survey highlights included:

  • On a scale of 100, scores on residents' experiences related to meals and dining ranged from 59 to 93.
  • On a scale of 100, scores on residents' experiences related to communication with staff ranged from 60 to 99.
  • On a scale of 100, scores on family members' experiences related to staffing, care of belongings, and the environment ranged from 59 to 95.
  • On a scale of 100, scores on family members' experiences related to kindness and respect ranged from 65 to 100.

Supportive living facilities are not required to have on-site, 24-hour registered nurses or regular visits by physicians.

The facilities covered by the surveys fell into one of three ownership-model categories:

  • AHS-operated or wholly-owned subsidiary of AHS.
  • Owned by a private, for-profit organization.
  • Owned by a not-for-profit or faith-based organization.

Neuner said each facility will receive a detailed report of their specific results.