June 28, 2017

Serious health concerns at Lacombe long term care facility need attention: MLA

Ron Orr MLA Lacombe - Ponoka

By Ron Orr, MLA
Lacombe-Ponoka

Recently we learned about health concerns at the long term care facility in the Lacombe Hospital.

The issues were brought to light by nursing students who were doing a practicum at the facility and were alarmed by what they saw.

On April 10, an investigation was launched by AHS into the quality of care at the facility.

I am very thankful that these students were not afraid to expose what appeared to be serious standards of care breaches at the facility that were putting patients at risk.

Some of the 80 breaches that were identified as a result of the AHS investigation include using nonsterile supplies, forgetting to secure and label medication and leaving sharps unattended in open areas.

The investigation also identified significant training issues such as a lack of proper procedures in dementia care, risk management, fall prevention, CPR, bathing, palliative and end-of-life care.

A whistleblower at AHS was shocked at the poor state of the facility, and I quickly moved to question the government on the state of central Alberta seniors care. Based on the information I was given, I can only assume that this situation arose due to a severe lack of quality audits at the facility by AHS officials.

The NDP government is content with the quality of these audits, but Wildrose is not. Patients and their loved ones in our community have seen inadequate levels of care that are simply unacceptable. Dignity in aging should be afforded to every human being.

Inequitable health care funding to central Alberta continues to cause issues in ridings like ours and could be connected to quality of care breakdowns in our facilities. It is up to us to advocate for just per-capita funding and the same quality of service the government delivers to other regions.

Wildrose will hold the NDP government to account to ensure that the significant problems found in the initial investigation are fixed. We are asking for the full investigative report being conducted by AHS to be released to the public, and we will continue to put pressure on the government for answers.

A happy, healthy environment for the 75 residents and staff of the long term care facility needs to be restored. I would like to affirm my commitment to supporting the front line workers at this facility, nurses who are doing their best in a difficult situation.

I would like to hear from the constituents of our riding on this matter to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Please feel free to reach out to my office and share your concerns.

I sense that the exposed health care conditions at this facility are not unique to our riding and could be occurring elsewhere in the province.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding this or any issue, Please contact me at my office at 403-782-7725 or by e-mail at Lacombe.ponoka@assembly.ab.ca or stop in at 101, 4892 – 46 Street, Lacombe, AB T4L 2B4.

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