By the numbers: A closer look at continuing care in Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: Su-Ling Goh has an in-depth look at how Alberta’s current continuing care system works.

EDMONTON – On Tuesday, the province announced it will open 464 continuing care spaces across Alberta. But how does that stack up to the spaces already in place? We break it down for you.

First, though, let’s clarify some terms. Despite how some use the term ‘continuing care,’ it is not synonymous for long-term care.

Continuing care is an umbrella term that includes everything from home care, to supportive living and long-term care.

Long-term care, on the other hand, always takes place in a facility and involves patients with complex medical needs who require registered nurses.

Supportive living can vary widely. It’s usually in a facility, and typically requires only LPNs (licensed practical nurses). Dementia patients, for instance, who are relatively healthy and can still walk can be in supportive living. When they need a wheelchair full-time, they move to long term care.

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How many continuing care beds are there currently in Alberta?

Overall, there are a total of 23,172 continuing care beds in the province. This figure includes 14,321 long-term care spaces (province-wide).

How many people in Alberta hospitals are waiting for continuing care placement?

  • 740 (as of August 2014). Of those patients, one-third (283) are in the Calgary Zone, and 240 are in the Edmonton Zone.

While these numbers fluctuate, if you compare province-by-province, AHS officials says Alberta ranks among the lowest in the country in regards to days spent in what’s called ‘alternate-level-of-care’.

What’s the average wait time in Alberta for a continuing care bed?

Last year it was 31 days, down from a 54 day wait in 2010-11, according to AHS.

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How many people were placed into continuing care spaces from hospitals in 2013?

  • 5,522 people, which AHS says is a gain of 571 placements in three years.

How many long-term spaces are there in Edmonton and Calgary?

  • 4,963 long term care spaces in the Calgary Zone
  • 4,957 long term care spaces in Edmonton Zone (as of Sept. 30, 2014)

READ MORE: Breakdown of new continuing care beds being added across the province