April 17, 2018 5:12 pm

Senior advocate concerned over Alberta long-term care survey results

Global News / File

Results have been revealed from a province-wide survey on long-term care facilities in Alberta. Over 7,000 family members were polled about their experiences. Loved ones rated their providers in a list of areas, including staffing levels, food, care and respect.

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Click here to read the full Long-term Care Family Experience Survey Report

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) has been conducting the survey over the last decade and the majority of facilities showed little to no change.

READ MORE: NDP introduces legislation to give long-term care residents and their families more say at Alberta facilities

HQCA CEO Andrew Neuner said since 2014, many facilities showed no change in results related to key measures.

“Changes are slow and there are some facilities consistently performing at a high level,” Neuner said.

“There is good work being done, but we want to be clear: there is lots of work that can be done.”

On average, the provincial rating is 8.4 out of 10. Individual facilities scored in the range from 6.6 to 9.7 out of 10.

“For facilities that don’t score as well, we’ve made significant improvements to help providers understand information better and to understand the standards as to which they’re measured,” Neuner said.

READ MORE: 1 in 5 Canadian seniors entering long-term care too soon: report

Only 18 per cent of family members said there were always enough nurses and aides for their loved ones.

A representative with the Elder Advocates Society of Alberta said the findings are a concern. Ruth Adria said they are worried about staffing issues that could lead to warehousing the most vulnerable.

“Vulnerable and elderly persons are treated with disdain and disregard.”

“We are aware that before the Alberta budget was brought down, long-term care funding was frozen,” Adria said. “Front-line staff tell us that it is often impossible to do the work that is assigned to them.”

Adria also said there’s concern the survey results aren’t a true depiction of what’s happening.

“In regard to studies, family members are afraid to report the reality,” Adria suggested.

The main body of questions in the Long-Term Care Family Experience Survey was adapted from the CAHPS Nursing Home Survey: Family Member Instrument. The survey is a 64-question self-reported assessment that includes a family member’s overall experience with the facility and was used with the permission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The questionnaire was delivered to, and answered by, family members (respondents). For more information on the methodology, visit the survey report here.

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