January 15th, 2021

Ways to improve long-term care

By Letter to the Editor on June 30, 2020.

During his June 25 broadcast to Canadians, Prime Minister Trudeau acknowledged that long-term care for Canadians ranks near the bottom of the 36 OECD nations.

COVID-19 fatality statistics consistently conclude that elderly residents in long-term care facilities represent an alarming share of deaths.

But why are Canadian long-term care facilities outperformed by most of our OECD partners? The situation has been so desperate in two provinces, Quebec and Ontario, that they have reached out to hundreds of Canadian Forces personnel to provide care for seniors. While Alberta has not yet reached out to the Canadian Forces, conditions in our long-term care facilities are nevethless dire. Here are five suggestions you may wish to consider.

1. There is abundant evidence that one of the weaknesses in the Canadian system is a shortage of trained long-term care workers.

2. Workers need both protective equipment and protection from aggresive clients.

3. Care workers must be provided with a living wage so there is no need for them to work at multiple sites, as this increases the risk of COVID-19 contamination.

4. As in all work environments, long-term care workers must be provided with adequate training.

5. As many of the operational issues in long-term care appear to be related to the need for private corporations to maximize profits, a review of long-term care in Alberta should include a review of the Alberta ownership model.

Robert D. Tarleck

President, Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre

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While the former council member and mayor has some ideas they, when broken down into normal every day speak, all add up to the usual NDP tripe. Nationalize a program, and then spend spend spend, while blaming the the private corporations for making money. So predictable. They never get tired of beating the horse

Southern Albertan

Setting ideology aside, Tarleck is correct. Another area of long term care which has been greatly lacking, for years, are safe, locked and secure facilities for folks with dementia. Many of these folks, who built this country/province are ending up in facilities which are not appropriate for them, i.e.too big with poor wandering loops, unsecure buildings which make it easy to walk out of the facility in all kinds of weather despite alarms on the doors, a too low staff to patient ratio mix which should also be more skilled….these are all factors which increase the risk for verbal and physical aggression toward the staff.
Of course, it’s easy to see that it would take a lot more money to do dementia care properly. As a Lethbridge doctor said during the Klein health care cutbacks, “people need to decide what they want.” The politics that promotes adequate long term care, or not, and how one votes, are intertwined.

Seth Anthony

Walk into some of these facilities and you’ll be overwhelmed by the smell of urine and feces. You’ll also see that a large amount of the residents are both physically and mentally well beyond what would be considered a decent life. Imagine defecating and urinating yourself, having no ability to clean yourself, stand up, or even feed yourself. You’re in constant physical and mental pain, but your requests to die and end your suffering are ignored. Only a warped dogmatic mind would allow such suffering to continue. Only a warped dogmatic mind would advocate against dying with dignity and euthanasia.


good letter, and excellent add-ons by so.ab and seth. if one lives long enough, long term care is the odds on likelihood of where one will end up. consider how few have the “time” or ability to look after dear family members that are in the final stages of aging out this existence. if you think, buckwheat, that you will be looked after at home in your expiring years, the stats suggest you are very wrong. ndp sounding indeed: if they are the only govt that cares enough about the most vulnerable, then best wishes to them. heretofore, we have been playing election ping-pong with libs and cons mostly, with the odd ndp provincially – and long term care is in the prov’l domain – , but neither has done anything real to help deal with the infirm.


seth so biff, i wouldn’t worry about buckwheat. he will probably commit suicide rather than be a drag to society.