INNISFAIL, AB (June 20, 2013): While the PC government congratulated itself for eliminating the 100-kilometre divorce-by-nursing home policy, new admissions from the Premier’s Office suggest the government has merely trimmed the allowable distance for separating seniors, Wildrose Official Opposition Seniors Critic Kerry Towle said, today.
On Wednesday, the Premier’s Office confirmed the new guidelines allow AHS to send seniors in long term care up to 80 km away from their families and loved ones, essentially leaving the divorce-by-nursing-home policy intact. On Twitter yesterday, the Premier’s Issues Manager Michael Norris indicated AHS has reverted to the David Thompson Health Region policy of 80 km for the Central Region. “Health Minister Fred Horne has some explaining to do. One day he says the divorce-by-nursing-home policy is cruel and it is over, the next day it’s only been reduced by 20 per cent,” Towle said. “Splitting apart married couples by 80 km is not any less cruel than 100 km. Why can’t this government do the right thing and let married couples in long term care stay together?” In the spring legislative sitting, Wildrose pressed the government to end divorce-by-nursing-home practices after Towle heard from seniors who want to see the policy abolished on a province-wide seniors’ tour in February. “This is a classic PC bait and switch by an out of touch government and an out of control bureaucracy,” Towle said. “This government is quickly losing credibility with the people who built this province and it’s time for the minister to show some leadership and end the divorce-by-nursing-home policy once and for all.”