The abrupt decision by Alberta Health Services to close down the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre in Carmangay is a potentially tragic mistake, warned the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.
“Alberta has a huge shortage of beds in seniors care,” said AUPE President Guy Smith. “And here the government plans to close down a highly specialized facility that provides excellent care for some of the most vulnerable people in the system.”
The 20-bed Little Bow centre houses elderly Albertans with dementia, where they receive 24-hour care in a safe, secure, nurturing environment. Many of the residents are in their 90s.
Earlier this week AHS told staff of their plans to shut down the facility by September. It plans to relocate the residents to other facilities, but AUPE Vice-President Glen Scott warned that moving them is risky to their wellbeing.
“This has been their home, and their caregivers are like family,” said Scott, who attended a packed community meeting in Carmangay Thursday night. “To uproot physically and emotionally fragile seniors and put them in an unfamiliar environment is potentially very harmful.”
Scott added that shutting down the centre will be a huge blow to the village of 275 people 60 km north of Lethbridge. With a staff of 36, it’s a major employer in the community.
“This decision is wrong on so many levels,” said Smith. “It was made with no consultation with families, staff or the community. I urge AHS to reconsider.”
AUPE is Alberta’s largest union, with 80,000 members, nearly half of whom work in health care. It represents 26 of the Little Bow centre employees.
For more information:
Guy Smith, AUPE President: (780) 265-9924
Glen Scott, AUPE Vice-President: (403) 479-4508
Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications: (780) 930-5218