The province is setting new personal hygiene standards for people in continuing care, stipulating they must receive a minimum of two baths a week.
Until now there has been no set bathing standard.
“This is more than an issue of health and hygiene for the residents of our continuing care facilities. It is an issue of dignity,” said Health Minister Fred Horne in a media release. “By mandating a minimum number of baths, we can ensure residents are being cared for appropriately, and with the dignity they deserve.”
Because some people can’t tolerate baths or get in and out of tubs, sponge baths and showers will also count.
The new standard takes effect immediately, although Alberta Health Services says facilities will be given time to adjust their schedules.
AHS says care providers will be expected to manage any additional associated costs within their budgets.
The province decided to come up with a policy after some patients in care homes for seniors and people with disabilities complained they were restricted to just one bath every week.
In December, several people with disabilities at Calgary’s Fanning Centre told Global they were unable to maintain basic personal hygiene at the facility due to a number of practices, including limited opportunities for bathing.