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Government acts to relieve pressure on hospitals

The Alberta government is moving to ease pressure on hospitals by addressing the needs of more than 700 senior or complex needs patients who are waiting in acute care for a continuing care space.

In the first phase of the 2014 Continuing Care Capacity Plan, Alberta Health Services will, over the next 12 months, open 464 continuing care spaces that are currently unfunded or unstaffed through the reallocation of existing resources.

In the second phase of the plan, government will assist remaining patients waiting in acute care through $60 million in targeted Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) funds.

As these transitions occur, the system will be better able to open up needed beds in both our acute care and emergency care system. Alberta Health Services will dedicate approximately 20 per cent of newly freed up acute care spaces for exclusive emergency department use.

Further actions include a home care capacity review, the exploration of alternative health-care delivery models in continuing care settings, and further ASLI investments by the Minister of Seniors.

“We’re taking concrete steps to relieve pressure on Alberta’s hospitals by considering the flow of the overall system and effecting changes to help those who most need continuing care options – both seniors and those who need more complex care. As these transitions occur – and we believe there will be meaningful progress in short order – we will also be better able to open up needed beds in both our acute care and emergency care system.”

Jim Prentice, Premier

“We currently have more than 700 acute care spaces – roughly the equivalent of three hospitals – being used by Albertans who are patiently waiting for placement in continuing care. By quickly transitioning these seniors out of hospital and making necessary investments in home care and continuing care, we can provide a better quality of life for our seniors and ease pressure on provincial hospitals.”

Stephen Mandel, Minister of Health

“We know there is a direct relation between having safe, stable housing and a senior’s overall wellbeing. Our commitment is to build quality accommodation options that meet a variety of needs. We want Alberta seniors to feel at home and stay connected to family and community, while getting the care and support they need.”

Jeff Johnson, Minister of Seniors

“Albertans will welcome the Minister’s announcement today. These additional continuing care beds will free up some acute care resources, which is very positive. Our focus has to be not only on the acute care system, though, but on improving the quality of life for Albertans, ensuring the right kind of support when and where it is needed. This includes looking at new models of care in the community.”

Dr. Richard G. Johnston, President of the Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Health will continue to work with providers on the completion of ASLI projects funded over the last four years. These previous investments will result in more than 1,400 continuing care spaces opening between now and 2018.

Breakdown of bed openings by region

Zone

Timeline to open

Number of spaces

Edmonton

 

0-3 months

22

0-6 months

127

Total

149

Calgary

 

0-3 months

51

0-6 months

143

Total

194

North

 

6-12 months

55

Total

55

Central

 

6-12 months

28

Total

28

South

 

0-6 months

38

Total

38

Provincial Total

464

Target for RFPs for ASLI Investments of $60 million for up to 300 new continuing care spaces – 12 months.

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