AHS policy still separating seniors from families, woman says
Province says it cancelled 100-kilometre policy in June
Despite promising to get rid of its controversial policy that allowed seniors to be sent out of their community for continuing care, an Edmonton woman says Alberta Health Services offered her no alternative while trying to find a bed for her mother.
“It's ludicrous. It doesn't seem humane to me. We're talking about an aging population,” said Corrine Koslo.
Koslo says she was looking for a home for her 85-year-old mother Reta a few weeks ago. She says she was told by AHS that she would have to agree to take any available bed that was offered.
"I would be required to sign a piece of paper saying that I would accept whatever, the first place that came up within a 100 or 150 mile radius of Edmonton," she said.
“You start to panic. You think, ‘This isn’t possible.’ We can’t do that. We can’t send my mother that far away.”
In June, AHS said it was putting the First Available Bed policy on hold until a review by the Health Quality Council was done. The policy stated that continuing care patients could be sent to a facility within 100 kilometres of their community
The policy came under sharp criticism from patients, families and MLAs who said it separated families and put an unnecessary strain on seniors.
Despite the promise to stop the policy, Wildrose Human Services Critic Kerry Towles says she’s heard from many people saying it is alive and well in Alberta.
“In the last fall session, I was able to show at least six examples where clients were asked to sign that same type of letter or were told they had to take the first available bed or their loved one would be taken off the continuing care wait list," she said.
A spokesperson for AHS says seniors may be sent to a temporary location anywhere in the province until a spot in their preferred residence becomes open.
Koslo says her family has been able to hire home care for her mother while the family fights against the policy.