Overview

There are a variety of continuing care services and supports available to Albertans depending on an individual’s health and personal care needs.

Any Albertan can receive continuing care services, no matter their age, diagnosis or the length of time they need support. Eligibility is based entirely on a professional assessment of a person’s unmet need for care.

Continuing care services include assistance with dressing, eating and bathing, meal preparation, respite, wound care, medication administration, and various other health care and support services.

These services and supports may be provided in different settings including individuals’ homes, community-based service locations, such as adult day programs, and residential care facilities which include designated supportive living and long-term care.

Home care

The Home Care Program provides personal and health care services for clients of all ages living in their home or other private residential settings, such as suites in a seniors lodge or supportive living facility.

The Home Care Program helps people remain well, safe and independent in their home for as long as possible.

Home care services are intended to supplement, not replace, the help and support received from family, friends, and other community supports.

You may receive home care services on a short-term basis if you are recovering from an accident, injury or illness or on a long-term basis due to disease, disability or aging.

Health and personal care services provided through the Home Care Program are publicly funded and provided at no cost to eligible Albertans.

Home support services such as homemaking assistance may also be available, but a client co-payment fee for these services may apply.

Supportive living

Supportive living is a type of continuing care accommodation, where people can remain as independent as possible in a home-like setting while they have access to services that meet their changing needs.

Supportive living accommodations vary by size, appearance and the types of services offered and can include seniors’ lodges, group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities and designated supportive living accommodations.

Each supportive living accommodation is different. Operators set their own rent prices and determine what services they will offer and some may not offer the services you want or need.

To determine if an accommodation meets your needs, you should meet with the operator, tour the accommodation, and talk to other residents.

Learn more about supportive living

The Alberta government sets provincial accommodation standards, and monitors compliance to the standards through annual site inspections.

Read the Supportive Living Guide and Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act

Supportive living operators must be licensed if they:

  • provide accommodation and support services for 4 or more individuals
  • provide or arrange for services related to safety and security
  • offer or arrange for at least one meal a day or housekeeping services

Designated supportive living

Designated supportive living is a type of supportive living.

Some accommodations include both supportive living and designated supportive living spaces, but AHS determines access to the designated supportive living spaces within the building.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) determines access to designated supportive living and requires individuals to be assessed by a health professional to determine their health needs before they can move in.

Professional health care services and personal care assistance for residents of designated supportive living are publicly funded and facilities are operated either directly by AHS or by contracted care providers. The amount and type of care provided to residents is based on their assessed unmet care needs.

Residents of designated supportive living receive 24-hour on-site, scheduled and unscheduled, personal care and support services from health care aides and/or licensed practical nurses.

The Alberta government sets the maximum accommodation charge that residents can pay in a designated supportive living accommodation.

Designated supportive living is different from other supportive living

Access

AHS determines access to designated supportive living spaces and requires individuals to be assessed by a health professional to determine their health needs. Access to other types of supportive living is determined by the operator.

Accommodation charges

The maximum accommodation charge in designated supportive living and long-term care is set by the Alberta government. In other types of supportive living, the accommodation charge or rent is set by the operator.

Care

All designated supportive living accommodations provide 24-hour publicly funded health and personal care support on-site. In other types of supportive living, accommodations have varying levels of health and support services available on-site.

Long-term care

Long-term care is a type of continuing care accommodation for people with complex medical needs who are unable to remain safely at home or in a supportive living accommodation.

Long-term care is provided in nursing homes and auxiliary hospitals, both of which may be referred to as “long-term care facilities”.

In long-term care, residents receive accommodation, meals, and access to 24-hour on-site professional nursing and personal care. Case management, professional nursing, rehabilitation therapy and other consultative services are provided on-site by facility staff.

Long-term care health care services are publicly funded, and facilities are operated either directly by Alberta Health Services or by contracted care providers.

The maximum accommodation charge that residents can pay in a long-term care accommodation is set by the Alberta government.

Learn more about who currently resides in long-term care, including demographic information, common health conditions and treatments. Read the Alberta Long-Term Care Resident Profile.

Palliative and end-of-life care

Palliative and end-of-life care is specialized medical care for adults and children diagnosed with a serious illness that will shorten their life.

Alberta Health Services delivers palliative and end-of-life care services and supports to Albertans. A palliative and end-of-life care team works with clients requiring special medical care, in collaboration with their families and caregivers, and their doctors. The team can also offer services and supports to families and caregivers.

In Alberta, there are many options where individuals can receive palliative and end-of-life care, in their home, a hospital, in continuing care accommodations, or a hospice.

Alberta Health provides subsidized palliative care health benefits to Albertans that remain in their home or in a hospice where access to publicly funded drugs, diabetic supplies and ambulance services are not included.

All Albertans should prepare for the possibility they may be unable to make their own medical decisions, especially if they are older or have chronic or serious illness.
Advance care planning is a way to help individuals think about, talk about and document their wishes for health care if they are unable to provide consent or refuse treatment or other kinds of care. Tools such as a personal directive, an enduring power of attorney or a will can help people plan for the future so their wishes are known.

Resident and Family Councils

The Resident and Family Councils Act gives residents and their families the right to establish self-governing councils at any long-term care or licensed supportive living accommodation, to participate in decisions made about the care and services they receive.

Legislation and standards

The most common legislation and standards regarding the continuing care system are listed below.

There may be additional legislation or standards, such as employment standards, that may be relevant to continuing care operators and those receiving continuing care services.

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