July 24, 2014 5:43 pm

Critics sound off about Alberta’s long term care troubles

CALGARY- The story of an Airdrie family who can’t move their father from Ontario due to the cost of long-term care is touching a nerve with Canadians.

Legislation states that anyone moving from out of province must live in Alberta for 12 months before being eligible for any kind of continuing care subsidy. If the Hirons family  were to move to Airdrie, they would be on the hook for $7,500 per month for an entire year.

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It turns out they’re far from alone in their struggle.

“We have a member of our family who is in a vulnerable state, who we can’t look after the way we would like to,” complains Rob McNaughton.

His sister-in-law suffered a brain injury eight years ago while living in Saskatchewan, and was eventually admitted to a long-term care facility. Her family tried to get her moved to Calgary to be with them, but they also would have been forced to pay for her care on their own.

“We’re all here,” McNaughton says. “We go back and visit her for a week at a time or so, but really we need to bring her here because this is where our lives are.”

Critics are miffed at the legislation.

“Other provinces don’t have this issue, other provinces can make this work for families, because they understand keeping the family whole is a priority,” says Kerry Tole from the Wildrose Party. “The reality of it is that anyone else who is coming to this province can get health services, and it’s billed back to the province in which they came.

“Even then it’s only a three month wait, not a 12 month wait.”

Alberta’s health minister declined Global News’ requests for comment.

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