Incompetent management has caused suffering to residents and staff
Edmonton – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is demanding that Alberta Health Services (AHS) take over management of four Continuing Care facilities operated by Age Care Health Services Inc. (AgeCare). AUPE sent the letter today (Feb. 1, 2021) to Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of AHS, insisting they remove AgeCare as operator of four Calgary area facilities.
“AHS has an obligation to provide Alberta seniors with safe continuing care, instead of contracting out their legal and moral responsibility and letting AgeCare bungle their way through with dire consequences,” says AUPE Vice-President Mike Dempsey. “Time and time again, we have seen such providers prioritize the bottom line over the health and safety of Albertans. AgeCare’s failing of seniors in Alberta is a travesty.”
The four AgeCare facilities — Skypointe, Walden Heights and Glenmore in Calgary and Sagewood in Strathmore — are all dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, with SkyPointe in Northeast Calgary having one of the worst outbreaks and highest fatality rates of continuing care homes in Alberta. Overall, more than 40 residents have died at Skypointe with over 350 residents and staff contracting Covid.At Walden Heights in Southeast Calgary, there have been 26 deaths and over 180 residents and staff have tested positive.
Staff have expressed their alarm about major operational problems at these facilities including:
- Managers ordering them to work in or walk through non-Covid and Covid units during the same shift, increasing potential of disease spread.
- Managers pressuring them to work while sick or to return before fully recovering from Covid-19.
- Trauma from witnessing deaths of resident they care for.
- Increased workloads and short staffing.
- Insufficient sick days.
- Lack of employer support and training to deal with outbreaks.
“AHS needs to solve this crisis immediately as the physical, emotional and psychological toll on workers and residents is extreme,” says Dempsey. “The pandemic has exposed how the supposed superiority of the for-profit sector in seniors’ care is a fairy-tale. Letting AgeCare’s services implode is reprehensible.AHS must fix this disaster immediately or the senior residents, families of those seniors and healthcare workers will continue to pay the price with their health and their lives. Make it public. Save lives. It’s that simple.”
Mike Dempsey is available for comment. For more information, contact Wayne Arthurson, Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org