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Inspections show high rate of non-compliance in Alberta seniors’ facilities, NDP says

The compliance rates in Alberta’s continuing care and supportive living facilities shows the province shouldn’t relax standards to give operators flexibility, the Alberta NDP says. 

The official Opposition on Thursday released data from six years of provincial inspections taken from Alberta government websites. 

The NDP says that in 2023 government staff performed 4,737 inspections on Alberta seniors facilities, with 4,263 or 90 per cent violating provincial standards for continuing care. 

The problems included a lack of cleanliness, odour control, nutrition, hydration and infection prevention. Data showed that 337 issues had not been resolved as of January 2024. 

The non-compliance rates in the previous five years ranged from 46 per cent to 71 per cent.  

The number of inspections varied from year to year, though 2023 had the highest. The year that had a number closest to 2023 for the number of inspections was in 2019 when the province performed 4,328 inspections with a non-compliance rate of 66 per cent. 

New regulations that took effect April 1 removed the minimum daily hours of care for each resident.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said she wanted to give operators flexibility. She said the government is increasing funding so residents can get at least 3.62 hours of care a day. 

The NDP said that’s not the same as mandating that level of care in legislation. Leader Rachel Notley said the number of infractions revealed in last year’s inspections shows the government needs to put the minimum hours of care back into law. 

“It demonstrates that neither these providers nor the government have earned the right to be flexible,” she said. 

In an unrelated news conference an hour later, LaGrange said she increased the number of inspectors so the ministry could quickly respond to complaints. 

“We have the ability to go in and audit those individual continuing care homes to make sure that the clients, the patients, the residents that live there are getting the best quality of care,” LaGrange said. 

The inspections of kitchens for seniors’ facilities are kept on a different website maintained by Alberta Health Services. 

The NDP is calling for the government to put all inspections in the same place so the public can easily find them. 

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