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Friday, November 17, 2017

Stier queries quality of supportive living facility food


Chris Davis - Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier (UC) spoke in the Alberta legislature twice this week against the serving of reheated frozen meals at supportive living facilities, including specifically one such facility in Claresholm.

On November 15 Stier asked Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman (see video for full statements) "just like back in 2012 here we are five years later, and AHS is back to its old tricks again, where it is reported that in a supportive living facility in Claresholm residents receive little to no fresh food. Instead, despite an order by the Health minister back in 2012 the administration there has returned to substituting low-quality frozen then reheated preprocessed substandard food products. To the Health minister: why has AHS returned to this appalling practice of not supplying and preparing fresh food to the residents of this supportive living facility?"

Minister Hoffman replied "I'd be happy to follow up with regard to this very specific facility. But I'll tell you that's why I was so proud to bring forward legislation earlier this month that would make sure that we have resident family councils, and that would apply to all of these facilities. I really wish that members opposite would take time to reflect on what's being said around the importance of honouring our seniors and others who are living in care facilities instead of arguing with me while I'm answering their question and advocating for 20 per cent cuts. You want to think about what that would do to the people living in these facilities."

Yesterday MLA Stier asked Minister Hoffman "why AHS has been ignoring the order of the previous minister that required supportive living facilities to discontinue reheating frozen meals from off-site and instead bring back on-site fresh food preparation." According to Stier "this problem exists under your watch as the person ultimately responsible for these facilities for the past 31 months. How could you allow this appalling situation to continue for so long?" Minister Hoffman disputed the validity of Stier's claims. "In the past these kinds of accusations have been made, and they have not been accurate. Yet, again, at Willow Creek continuing care centre in Claresholm today 60 per cent of the meals are prepared on-site for residents. That's an increase from the 40 per cent under the previous minister."

Stier said the he and Hoffman have both received a letter from a supportive care facility resident's relative, "and given that her father was told that he must wait for fruit as he was the 11th on the list, that he only received three salads in four months, which are supposed to be available six days a week, that beef is either scorched, smells bad, or cannot be eaten, and given that complaints to the advisory councils there are ignored and they seem unconcerned, Minister, what more evidence do you think you need to take action on this issue and restore fresh food?"

Minister Hoffman replied "Well, what the member didn't hear was the answer to the first question, which was that under the former government, his new best friends, 40 per cent of the meals were made locally. We've increased that to 60 per cent. I'm proud of the progress we're making, Madam Speaker. I know he's happy to dance with his new dance mates, but we're working to protect Albertans, including those living in Claresholm. In this instance we've met with the resident and their family. They've been given a tour of the kitchen and talked to about the food and nutrition program on-site. Residents and families in Claresholm are participating in tasting of a new menu and new menu items. Based on their feedback, items may be added to the menu or modified to meet the individual residents' tastes."

Stier continued his offensive, saying "Madam Speaker, given that regular seniors' lodges serve fresh food without problems but that in AHS facilities there are numerous complaints about poor food quality and given that so far the minister seems uninterested to address the substandard food problem in these facilities and given that the minister has been frequently bragging that her ministry has made promises to provide over 2,000 new supportive living beds, Minister, please kindly tell this House: will those new facilities provide their new residents fresh meals prepared on-site, or will they, too, have no alternative but to eat previously frozen, reheated, mushy food?"

Minister Hoffman reiterated her previous reply, saying "We're working with residents and with their families to increase opportunities for their tastes to be addressed and met. That's why it's gone from 40 per cent fresh food to 60 per cent fresh food in this facility in particular and why we're continuing to work with residents and their family members to make sure that their tastes are catered to in a local manner and another reason why I'm so proud we brought forward legislation to ensure that resident and family councils are available throughout Alberta. I'll continue working with families, working with residents, and working with health care providers to provide good-quality, safe living environments for all residents."

Source: Alberta Hansard

1 comment:

  1. "The provincial government continues to fund for-profit long-term care facilities despite the fact that they provide an inferior level of care compared to publicly run facilities." (Parkland Institute)

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