RED DEER – The closing of Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor, two publicly funded and delivered seniors’ care facilities in Red Deer, plus staff shortages at Michener Hill Extendicare, the publicly funded but privately delivered site opened to replace the two facilities has added to the long-term care crisis already in place in central Alberta.
“We’ve been against the closing of these public sites from the beginning. Now Michener Hill is 40-per-cent below proper staffing levels, and the workload is at 100 per cent. This is unacceptable,” AUPE President Guy Smith said. “As a result, our members at Michener Hill Extendicare are having their workloads increased significantly, affecting both staff and residents at the site,” he said.
Smith added that the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees feels proper support for residents who need long-term care should come first, before profit, and that means hiring the appropriate number of staff.
Red Deer North MLA and Minister of Seniors and Community Supports Mary Anne Jablonski claims the shortage of staff is a result of keeping three seniors’ homes running during the transfer, leaving the impression that former staff from Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor will make the move to Michener Hill, said Smith. “There is no guarantee this will happen. Some will quit, some will retire and some will move to another public site leaving pressures on service and risks to seniors’ health in place.”
The Minister also talks about the beauty and attractiveness of the tax-payer-funded Michener Hill, however aesthetics don’t provide the care these seniors need. Proper staffing does, said Smith.
Some concerned family members of seniors requiring care in Red Deer have decided to completely stop the transfer of their loved ones to Michener Hill.
Paulette Bearer’s 97-year-old mother requires care, however the family has halted her transfer from Valley Park Manor to Michener Hill.
“I went up to the floor where my mother, who is completely incapacitated, would be moved today. Nobody was ready for her. We cancelled the move,” said Bearer in a story published in the Red Deer Advocate.
“I’ve never understood how for-profit organizations can care for the sick. Since I live in the States, I have to deal with that all the time. They under staff, underpay, under-supply. How else are they going to make money?” Bearer adds.
Extendicare has received 157 residents from Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor since Sept. 1. They are hoping to have all transfers complete by Oct. 5.
“We’ve always been concerned about the closing of Red Deer Nursing Home and Valley Park Manor and Extendicare’s ability to attract the right number of staff. Now our fears have been realized,” said Smith. “AHS must take a sober second look at the closing of these facilities, and the affects they are having on seniors’ care in the community.”
For more information:
Guy Smith, President, AUPE – 780-930-3301 or 780-265-2294 (cellular phone)
David Climenhaga, Communications Director, AUPE – 780-930-3311 or 780-717-2943 (cellular phone)