AHS long-term care nursing facility shutdown will leave seniors at risk

CARMANGAY, AB (July 12, 2012): Some of Alberta’s most vulnerable seniors are being unnecessarily forced out of their homes and put at risk by a Superboard shutdown of the Little Bow Continuing Care Centre, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today. 

For 20 years, the long-term nursing facility in Carmangay has provided a secure environment for dementia patients who need around-the-clock care. It is now being told to close down within the next three months.   

The Alberta Health Superboard is claiming the facility is being shut down because it does not meet current building codes. However, the most recent AHS inspection report from March shows it met building code requirements

Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said this is just another example of having a centralized superboard calling the shots for Alberta’s most vulnerable. 

“The local needs in our health care system continue to be ignored by an unresponsive superboard bureaucracy in Edmonton,” Smith said.  “Because of this decision, some of our most fragile citizens are now at risk of losing contact with their families and the level of care they need.” 

There are currently 18 residents in the 20-bed facility who will be shuffled to continuing care centres in either Claresholm, Nanton, Vulcan or Lethbridge.  Chief Operating Officer of AHS Chris Mazurkewich is quoted saying, “the residents of Carmangay will be more appropriately served and treated within the new facilities.” 

However, Wildrose Seniors Critic Kerry Towle pointed out that many of these continuing care centres do not offer the same specialized care that these seniors currently receive in Carmangay, especially those suffering from dementia. 

“These continuing care centres do not provide the same around-the-clock care for seniors like these long-term care nursing beds do,” Towle said.  “As a result, many of these seniors will be forced into situations where the level of care they need will not be met.” 

Wildrose Little Bow MLA Ian Donovan expressed frustration with the lack of consultation with the citizens of Carmangay and the families who will be impacted by the move and the loss of 20 long-term care beds. 

“There are many family members who have moved into the Carmangay area to be closer with their loved ones who are now being asked to pack up without being consulted or given a legitimate reason for the move,” Donovan said. “The seniors, their families and the Carmangay community deserve better treatment than this.” 

Both Danielle Smith and Ian Donovan will be attending a public forum tonight in Carmangay to discuss the closure.  The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be hosted at the Carmangay School at 101 Whyte Street. 

-  30 -