Sunday, October 4, 2009

Canada Shifting Senior Care Away From Hospitals

Story from Calgary Herald

CALGARY - Alberta Health Services have announced a three-year plan to add almost 800 "community living options" in the province for senior patients - who would otherwise crowd hospital beds, officials said.

Dr. Stephen Duckett, the provincial body's president and CEO, added that there will be no healthcare staff layoff announcemnts today, and there will be none until Alberta Health Services work through its current care plan.

"The key thing here is that, not only did we identify where we want to go, but also how to get there," Duckett said during a press call at noon. "This is not vapourware, as you call it... it's a concrete thing."

The plan, Duckett says, is to invest about $13 million in both the Calgary and Edmonton CMA to expand community care. The new spaces - about 775 between the two metropolitan areas - will include home care, supportive living and long-term care facilities.

The move of seniors who don't need acute care will allow health officials to free up hospital beds, Duckett says. Officials estimate the shift to community care would save up to $50 million for the cash-strapped provincial body.

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