Alberta Nursing Homes
Understanding The Nursing Home System
General Definiton Of Nursing Homes
Definition of Alberta Nursing Homes
Nursing homes, or long-term care facilities, are designed for individuals with heavy care needs requiring nursing supervision 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These individuals have health care needs that cannot be met in their home.
In order to receive nursing home care you must:
- be eligible to register with the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan
- have lived in Alberta for 3 consecutive years or lived in Alberta for 1 year immediately before applying for nursing home care
- be a Canadian resident for at least 10 years.
The Ministry of Seniors and Community Services and Alberta Health and Wellness share responsibility for nursing home care. The Ministry of Seniors and Community Supports is responsible for monitoring nursing homes. Alberta Health Services determine nursing home fees.
Nursing Home Ownership
Nursing homes can be either publicly or privately owned.
Most nursing homes have a selection of room layouts from which to choose. A basic, or ward room consists of 3 or more beds. A semi-private room has only 2 beds, and a private room has a single bed.
Applying To A Nursing Home In Alberta
To apply for a nursing home bed, you must contact your regional Community Care Placement office (please see the “Applying to a Nursing Home” tab on the left hand side of the screen for contact numbers). The Home Care office is responsible for assessing individuals who request nursing home care, and you will be assigned a Coordinator. The District Board established an Assessment Committee, which consists of no less than 3 persons, one of which must be a physician. The assessment will include a physical, cognitive, and mental evaluation. The Assessment Committee will examine your ability to carry out Activities of Daily Living (eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, continence, and transferring) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (using a phone, shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, managing medications, and handling finances), and collect information from your physician, including medical and diagnostic information. The Committee will determine if your health care needs necessitate a nursing home bed, and if you are eligible, you can submit a list of your preferred nursing homes. If you do not qualify for a nursing home bed, the Home Care Office can inform you of alternative services that may be more suitable to your needs.
The Placement office coordinates waiting lists for nursing homes. If you are awaiting nursing home placement in a hospital, or acute care setting, you are required to accept any nursing home bed within a 60 km radius of your location, even if it is not one of your preferred nursing homes. You will not lose your place on the waiting list of your preferred homes, and can request a transfer once admitted.
If you are awaiting nursing home placement in your own home, you can refuse a bed offer, however, you cannot refuse an unlimited number of offers because this assumes that your care needs are not urgent, and therefore, you may not truly need nursing home placement. Furthermore, once you refuse a bed, your priority status is lowered and you may have to wait longer for a bed.
If the Assessment Committee decides that you are not eligible for nursing home care, you can appeal the decision by contacting the District Board.
During your assessment, an individual may have collected certain documents required by the nursing home. If not, be prepared to bring the following to the home at the time of admission:
- Power of Attorney for Finances (if one)
- Power of Attorney for Personal Care (if one)
- Previous year’s Notice of Assessment
- Advanced Health Care Directives
- Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan number
- Social Insurance Number
Alberta Nursing Home Costs
In Alberta, private nursing homes determine their own fees. Please contact individuals homes to inquire about resident charges.
Nursing home residents are expected to pay a portion of their nursing home costs, known as an accommodation fee, which covers room and board expenses. Accommodation costs vary according to the type of room you will occupy. As of July 1, 2016 a ward room costs $52.65 per day, a semi-private room costs $55.45 per day, and a private room costs $64.10 per day.
|Daily Accommodation Rate||Monthly Accommodation Rate|
If a physician orders a private room for a resident who has not requested one, the nursing home cannot charge the rate for private room.
Alberta Health Services subsidizes publicly funded nursing home beds, and pays for all health care costs.
If you are not able to pay the minimum accommodation fee, which is the cost of a ward room, you may be eligible for an accommodation supplement, or financial assistance through the Alberta Seniors Benefit Program. This program provides financial support even if you are already receiving federal benefits, such as Old Age Security, Guaranteed Income Supplement, Federal Allowance, and the GST credit. The amount of the cash benefit is determined by:
- your type of accommodation living
- marital status
- income for you and your spouse
- eligibility for Old Age Security
To qualify for this program you be must:
- 65 years of age or older
- have lived in Alberta immediately before applying to a nursing home
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- have an income within the limits of the program
To apply for the Seniors Benefit Program, please call the Alberta Senior’s Information Line at 1-800-642-3853.
Discretionary Spending/Comfort Allowance
In determining the fee a nursing home resident is required to pay, each nursing home resident must have a specified amount of money for personal spending each month.
Respite care provides temporary relief to caregivers, or allows them to go on vacation knowing that their loved one’s care needs are met. Not all nursing homes provide respite care, so please contact your Home Care office for a list of homes that offer this program. You can apply for respite care for a maximum for 2 weeks per visit.
Programs and Services That Are Covered
The accommodation fee and government subsidy will cover the following costs in a nursing home:
- room furnishings (bed, nightstand, easy chair, and dresser)
- meals and snacks (including special diets)
- laundry services
- social programs
- resident’s council
- medication administration
- assistance with Activities of Daily Living
- 24 hour a day, 7 day a week nursing care
- physician care
- pastoral services
- personal hygiene
- some mobility aides for occasional use (i.e., walker)
Nursing home residents will not have to pay for drugs prescribed by the attending physician.
Alberta Nursing Home Policies, Programs, And Services
Although nursing homes vary according to some programs and services, the following are fairly standard across all nursing homes.
- All nursing homes permit visitors, however each home can determine their own visiting hours.
- Nursing home residents are able to bring in personal items to make their room feel like home. It is recommended to bring in items such as pictures, decorations, and a bedspread. You may be able to bring in some furnishings depending on the size of the room and dimensions. Speak with someone from the facility prior to bringing in furnishings.
- Residents are permitted to bring in some personal appliances, however, all must be approved by the home to ensure that they meet safety requirements. Some examples of appliances that are not permitted due to safety concerns are a hot plate, kettle, electric blanket, heating pads, toaster, iron, coffee maker, and heater.
- Homes are required to have an attending physician on staff to provide medical care to all residents, however you may able to keep your own doctor if he/she has visiting privileges in the home.
- The home will tailor meals and snacks according to residents’ dietary restrictions. Some residents may need to be referred to a registered dietitian for an assessment.
- Each nursing home should have a Resident Bill of Rights.
- Nursing home residents should be given the opportunity and support to establish and sustain a Resident’s Council.
- Nursing homes must provide laundry services.
- Each nursing home must provide activity programs and some programs should be offered in the evening, weekends, and outside the facility.
- Each nursing home should provide spiritual or religious programs. The nursing home must support and assist residents in maintaining their spiritual beliefs, religious observances, practices, and offerings.
- All nursing home differ in the degree to which they offer palliative care. Some homes may provide comfort measures to a resident in their final hours, whereas other homes may have a separate room for palliative residents, The room may allow family members to spend the night with the dying resident.
Homes vary in their use of restraints, but in all homes and individual resident situations, restraints must be used only if:
- it is used as a last resort
- the resident is harmful to self or other
- all other interventions have proven to be unsuccessful
- the restraint is as minimal as possible
- the resident is assessed on a regular basis to ensure the resident’s safety and comfort, and to establish if the restraint is still required
- the family must be informed
- the use of the restraint is documented, as well as each time the restraint is assessed
If you have to go to hospital while in the nursing home, you are required to continue paying your accommodation rate. The nursing home will hold your bed as long as you return to the home within 50 days. If your hospital stay extends beyond 50 days, the home is required to offer the bed to someone on the waiting list. Once you are able to return to the nursing home you can reapply for admission and your name will go on their waiting list, if there is one. Because you are in hospital, you will receive priority access to the nursing home bed.
Social Leaves of Absence
While on a social leave (weekend or vacation leave), you are required to continue paying the accommodation fee and the nursing home will hold your bed. You are entitled to an unlimited number of social leaves.
Alberta Nursing Home Regulations And Inspections
Nursing homes in Alberta must abide by the Nursing Home Act and Long-term Care Accommodation Standards. Public nursing home operators must have a contract with Alberta Health Services to operate a nursing home. Some nursing homes in Alberta are accredited by Accreditation Canada (formerly the Canadian Council for Health Services Accreditation). Accreditation Canada is an independent, non-government agency that evaluates health care facilities. This is a voluntary program, and a home can operate without this designation. Homes that have been through this process, and have been granted accreditation are presented with a plaque, which most prominently display.
Nursing Home Inspections
Alberta Seniors is responsible for monitoring nursing homes to ensure that they are compliant with the Nursing Home Act and Long-term Care Accommodation Standards. Licensing officers inspect each nursing home on an annual basis. Upon the completion of the inspection, the officer will advise the Administrator of any issues that were found to be non-compliant and give specific deadlines to correct the concerns. The Administrator will then develop and submit a Corrective Action Plan for approval. The Administrator must provide the officer with proof that the problems have been corrected. The officer may conduct a follow-up visit to ensure that the home is fully compliant. If concerns have not been addressed, or if the initial concerns were of a serious nature, the officer may cancel or suspend the nursing home’s contract until the homes meets all standards.
Alberta Health Facilities Review Committee
Whereas Alberta Seniors inspects nursing homes to ensure that they are compliant with the Nursing Home Act and Accommodation Standards, the Alberta Health Facilities Review Committee inspects all publicly funded nursing homes with a focus on residents and residents’ rights. The Committee assesses if the nursing home staff, programs, services, and care always focus on treating the resident with respect and dignity. The team that inspects nursing homes is comprised of non-government representatives. As part of each inspection, the team interviews residents, family members, visitors, and staff. Upon the completion of an inspection, the Committee will meet with senior management to verbally inform them of the results of the inspection. The Committee meets on a monthly basis to review and discuss the results of nursing home inspections. The Committee sends the chair of the Regional Health Authority, the nursing home Administrator, and the Minister of Health and Wellness a copy of the report that described the findings of the inspections. The nursing home must provide the Committee with a written response outlining a corrective action plan within 90 days of receiving the report.
The Committee will make the Ministry of Health immediately aware of any serious findings, and the Ministry may then direct the Regional Health Authority to further investigate the home.
Although Alberta Health Facility Review Committee reports are not available on-line, they are made accessible to the public at the Alberta Health Library.
Alberta Nursing Home Complaints
If you have a concern with a nursing home, first speak with the relevant staff member to make them aware of the problem and discuss ways to address the issue. If you are not satisfied with this response, contact the Manager of the department. Serious issues, or concerns that are still not corrected, should be brought to the attention of the Administrator.
If you suspect or are aware of resident abuse, please contact Protection for Persons in Care at 1-888-357-9339. If you are unhappy with the nursing home’s compliance with provincial standards, you can contact 1-877-384-8326. Concerns regarding residents can be addressed to the Alberta Health Facilities Review Committee – if you are in the Edmonton area, please call 780-427-4924. Outside of Edmonton, please dial toll-free 310-0000, followed by 780-427-4924.