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A real concern for rural Albertans and health care: Barnes

Posted on September 11, 2018 by 40 Mile Commentator

Justin Seward

After an Oyen seniors couple was seperated by 200 kilometres due to health care needs beyond home care for the wife in August, it has become apparent that there is an emotional detatchment from your spouse and financial burden with travel and accomodation.
The situation has prompted a concern for rural Albertans.
While Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes says that places like Bow Island is OK for seniors care with very good frontline workers at Plesantview and Alfred Eagen homes and the hospital, that rural Alberta needs more choices.
“Albertans need a choice of who delivers to them so they can put in some market mechanisms to ensure the pricing is good and ensure the supply is adequate,” said Barnes.
“… Rural Albertans don’t have the facilities and it’s just not fair. What a government needs to do is to ensure the tax payers and Albertans have a publicly funded facilities with choices where they can choose the delivery and they can chooe options.
The NDP spends $120 million a month in interest that needs to be in all of the priorities of helping the elderly and the people that need a temporary hand up are going to be jeopardized, he added.
He proposed the solution is to have a government that sees more value for the tax payer and patients who can have a comfort for their service.
As for people being pulled apart by health care for treatment.
“It’d tragic,” said Barnes.
“I worry about people in the health services who don’t have an advocate and of course this makes it harder for family members to be together to visit. It makes it harder for advocacy to ensure people are getting the full services and it’s a stress.
“It’s a stress on the individual and it’s stress on our society because we know there are other jurisdictions are providing this better.”
While Alberta Health Services (AHS) knows it is difficult to have loved ones separated due to health reasons, there is only so much care that can be done in their home community before the patient needs to be shifted to another care facility.
“We know the importance of couples staying together, and will always do all we can to ensure that can happen,” said an AHS spokesperson.
“Unfortunately, there are occasions when a person’s care needs increase to a point where they can no longer be appropriately looked after in their home community. When this happens, we do our best to accommodate them as close to their home and loved ones as possible, while ensuring they are placed in a facility that can provide them the care and support that they need.”
It is a difficult and challenging balance, but the priority must be on ensuring the patient or client is looked after appropriately and safely. For clients placed in continuing care, AHS will do what it can to limit the distance a patient has to travel to receive care.”
AHS provides the client and their family to choose up to three of their most preferred facilities that are for care needs. The steps taken are if one site is not available, then the patient will go to their second care site. The client will then be put on a priority list for their first site and will be moved to the facility when room becomes available.

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