COLUMN: Update on the Lacombe long-term care facility

MLA Ron Orr speaks to recent changes at a Lacombe long-term care facility

As many residents will be aware there were some concerns about the Lacombe Hospital Long Term Care unit that were raised by Red Deer College practical nursing students who were completing their practicums.

An audit by AHS in March then turned up an unacceptable number of breaches of Standards of Care practices.

Much of this must be attributed to an inequitable and unjust level of funding per-capita to central and rural regions in contrast to the two large urban centres in Alberta.

This has led to a deterioration of staffing, supplies, maintenance and capital for all ex-urban health delivery.

The challenges at the Lacombe Long Term Care centre are a consequence of the rationing of health care dollars in our region.

The tax dollars of the regions are going to support the health care expenses of the two cities.

I raised these issues in the Legislative Assembly and with the Minister on several occasions. I asked the Minister, “How did conditions deteriorate this far and will the results of the audit process be made public?”

I am happy to say that tremendous progress has been made by AHS to improve the situation at the Lacombe Long Term Care Facility.

I received a phone call from Alberta Health Services Deputy Chief of Staff at the end of June, assuring me that they have taken the necessary steps to ensure that effective restorative actions have and are being taken.

All 75 residents in the Centre have received new health assessments and the centre has been thoroughly cleaned.

A review of nursing has been completed. They have relaunched in-service education for all staff to ensure they are trained in the specifics of their responsibilities.

Interim managers have been installed and new long-term managers are now being recruited.

A resident’s council is also being formed and will have a voice in care decisions going forward.

I am so thankful for progress here in Lacombe and for all the hard working staff at the Long Term Care Facility.

Local doctors and nurses are the front line of defence in health care. Their passion for their work is an inspiration to us all. They are selfless in the service they provide and tireless in their dedication to their patients.

Alberta Health Services is in the process of completing a final audit of the health and safety concerns of the Long Term Care Facility. I look forward to reading the report, and when it is released to the public and I will continue to press the government to restore equitable funding on a per capita basis to hospitals within the region.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me at my constituency office at 403-782-7725 or by e-mail lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or drop in 101, 4892 – 46 St. in Lacombe.

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