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The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities actively promotes full participation in society and provides a voice for Albertans with disabilities.

Action Notes January 2015

Continuing Care in Alberta

Continuing Care front-line staff, patients and families are concerned about recent changes to the staffing structure at several continuing care facilities that are managed by Covenant Health, a branch of Alberta Health Services. Over 650 staff members have been affected by a decision to cut 120 full-time positions for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and many of these staff have been asked to reapply for part-time positions, with reduced hours and benefits. Covenant Health representatives say the changes will improve patient care and provide adequate staffing for peak care times during the day.

At a time when our population is increasingly aging and there is a significant shortage of continuing care beds in Alberta, it is hard to imagine how reduced staffing will improve patient care. The affected staff have expressed concern about the negative effects this decision has on their lives as well as the lives of the patients they serve. Continuing care services are often very personal and can have serious health consequences if not performed correctly; therefore, it is important for patients to have consistent staff who are aware of their needs and provide individualized care.

Albertans continue to express concerns about the quality and transparency of the Continuing Care program in Alberta. In 2013 it was reported that many continuing care patients were only receiving one bath a week and had to pay for private bathing services for any additional baths they required. The Government of Alberta responded to these issues by implementing a rule that two baths a week be mandatory in continuing care facilities. Over a year and a half later, reports have stated many people are still not receiving the mandated minimum of two baths a week, which leads to many health problems.

After system-wide changes were made to the home care division of the Continuing Care program in 2013, the Alberta Disabilities Forum initiated a Home Care working group. The working group has advocated for improvements to the quality of home care services, staff training and remuneration, as well as increased transparency and stakeholder input into decisions that affect Albertans who need home care. The Government of Alberta responded to an outpouring of complaints about the Continuing Care program by requesting a review and creating a Continuing Care Resolution Team to investigate complaints and work with stakeholders to resolve these issues. The Continuing Care Resolution Team plans to report on their findings early in 2015.

To learn more about the work that ADF has done regarding home care, visit www.adforum.ca/publications or email adf@accd.net.

What does Transportation Mean to You?

The word “transportation” often generates thoughts of cars, trucks, airplanes, bicycles, metro transit buses, taxis or anything in between. We need transportation to go to work, buy groceries, visit friends, go to the movies, visit the doctor and perform most of our daily activities outside our homes. The importance of transportation is often not considered until we lose our method of transportation and have to figure out new ways of getting around. For many people with disabilities, transportation can be a barrier to fully participating in society, which has a negative effect on our quality of life.

People with disabilities may not be able to drive for a variety of health reasons and there are often large costs associated with adapting vehicles to meet our driving needs, such as a vehicle that can be driven by a person who uses a wheelchair. Many people with disabilities have limited incomes and cannot afford the costs of purchasing, maintaining and insuring a vehicle.

In urban areas, some people with disabilities have the option of using public transit to take them where they need to go. However, public transit can be an issue when many busses have physical barriers that prevent people with disabilities from being able to get on and off the bus without assistance. Some cities have a disabled transit service, which provides a transportation option for those who cannot use the standard transit system; but the scheduling of these services can be problematic at times when people make last minute plans or need to be at an appointment at a specific time. Public transit is rarely an option in rural areas, which means that people with disabilities often rely on family and friends to have their transportation needs met.

Transportation is always evolving and innovative thinkers are constantly creating new ideas and opportunities for people with disabilities to have access to transportation. Community Cars is an organization that is leading the way in adapted transportation, with the invention of the Kenguru car that is specifically designed for people who use wheelchairs to drive. Learn more about the Kenguru car at www.kenguru.com.

The Importance of Giving

Thank you to those who support ACCD through the generous gift of donations that have supported our programs and services in 2014. A large portion of our funding depends on the kind hearts of those who give back to their communities through their charitable donations and much of the work we do to improve quality of life for people with disabilities would not be possible without these contributions. Charitable donations can be made online at www.accd.net, by phoning us toll-free at 1-800-387-2514 or by mailing your donation to our office in Edmonton. Embrace the importance of giving as you kick off a new year, by making a difference in your community through a donation to ACCD.

Thank you for attending ACCD & ADF’s Open House 2014!
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