Fast Facts: Alberta’s Continuing Care System

NOTE: These Fast Facts were compiled in 2005.  An updated survey is being prepared to reflect changes.

A Traditional Long Term Care Facilities

Facility / Bed Count
Source: Alberta Health and Wellness Correspondence, Sept, 2005
In 2004/2005, there were 14,309 long term care facility beds in 178 facilities
(i.e. in nursing homes, auxiliary hospitals and acute care hospital facilities).

Numbers Crunch on Public, Private, Voluntary Facilities and Beds
Source: Alberta Health and Wellness Correspondence, September 2005
In 2004/2005, there were:

  101 public facilities with a total of 5617 beds [39%]  
  46 private facilities with a total of 4875 beds [34%]  
  30 voluntary facilities with a total of 3817 beds [27%]  

More Residents with Greater Needs
Source: Alberta Health and Wellness Correspondence, September 2005
The number of assessed residents with the highest levels of acuity and complex care needs (E, F and G categories) climbed from 7994 in 1993/1994 to 9605 in 2003/2004 – an increase of 21%.

In 2003/2004, E, F and G residents represented about 65% of all residents in traditional long term care facilities.

Untracked Residents
Source: Alberta Chapter of the Consumers Association of Canada
Regulated long term care facilities also care for short term sub-acute patients (recovery and rehabilitation) and palliative care patients formerly cared for in hospitals. No one tracks or publicly reports the number of such patients.

Fee Banned for Palliative and Sub-Acute Patients
Source: Alberta Chapter of the Consumers Association of Canada
From the early 1990s until August 2003, short term terminally ill cancer patients in long term care facilities were charged the same resident fees as other residents New legislation has banned designated palliative patients being charged a resident fee in auxiliary hospitals (classed as long term care facilities).

Inspection Insights
Source: Alberta Health and Wellness Correspondence, September 2005
Approximately one-third of Alberta’s long term care facilities receives a routine inspection in any given year. In Alberta, there is no requirement for an annual inspection of each long term care facility.

In 2004/2005, Alberta’s Health Facilities Review Committee (inspection body) conducted two complaint investigations relating to long term care facilities.

The Health Facilities Review Committee (HFRC) does not have the mandate:
To determine whether a facility is in compliance with or in contravention of standards set out in the Nursing Homes Act and Regulations
To enforce the standards or to impose sanctions
To investigate nursing practice issues (these are the exclusive jurisdiction of the Alberta Association of Registered Nurses)
Source: HFRC Complaint Investigation Report, 2002

Soaring Resident Accommodation Fees
Source: Alberta Government News Release, June 17, 2003
Room Type Starting April 1 1994 Staring August 1, 2003  
Standard $24.75/ Day $39.62/ Day = 60% increase  
Semi-Private $26.25 / Day $42.00 / Day = 60% increase  
Private $28.60 / Day $48.20 / Day = 70% increase  
Monthly long term care resident fees (based on daily rates) are legislated by the provincial government.

Income Source for Residents in Long Term Care Facilities
Source: Alberta Long Term Care Association Survey, February 2003
404 People Were Interviewed
Government Pension 84%  
Old Age Security 82%  
Guaranteed Income Supplement 49%  
AISH, assured income for the severely disabled 3%  
Company Pension 26%  
Disability Pension 8%  
Savings 59%  
Family Members 6%  
Annual Income of Residents in Long Term Care Facilities
Source: Alberta Long Term Care Association Survey, February 2003
Of those who responded:
Under $15,000 48%  
$15,000 to $24,000 24%  
$25,000 to $34,900 8%  
$35,000 to $49,000 5%  
$50,000 to $74,000 1%  
$75,000 or more 0%  

55% of Long Term Residents Receiving Alberta Seniors Benefit (ASB)
Source: Annual Report 2004/2005, Alberta Seniors and Community Supports
Approximately 8,100 seniors in long term care facilities receive an average of $235 per month in additional benefits to assist with their accommodation fees.

Waiting Lists for Long Term Care Facilities
Source: Report of the Auditor General on Seniors Care and Programs, May 2005
The number of people waiting in acute care hospitals for long term care placement decreased about 30% from March 31, 2001 (385) to March 31, 2004 (267).

The number of people waiting in the community for long term care placement decreased about 10% from March 31, 2001 (377) to March 31, 2004 (339).

(Note: It has been reported that the bar for entry to traditional long term care facilities was raised and many people formerly on long term care waiting lists were re-routed to “supportive/assisted living” facilities and waiting lists. WA)

High Rate of Tranquilizer Use in Alberta Long Term Care Facilities
Data Source: 2003 University of Lethbridge Study
The study, based on data collected from 2001 to 2003, looked at 2,5000 residents in 10 urban and 14 rural long term care facilities in southern Alberta. The findings show that about one-third of the residents were being administered a major or minor tranquilizer, such as an antipsychotic or benzodiazepine.

B Supportive Living Settings

Look, No Standards !
Source: Report of the Auditor General on Seniors Care and Programs, May 2005

At the time of the Auditor General’s report, there were no standards for housing, nursing and personal care services provided in assisted living and other supportive living facilities accessed through a public health region (or privately). [Nor was there any description of how residents would obtain medical supplies such as medications, oxygen, equipment, diabetic care, ambulance services, access to medical care (doctors), physiotherapy, medical devices, etc. or who is responsible for arranging and paying for such goods and services]

Standards In The Making (Public and Private Lodges and Retirement Homes turning into new Health Care Facilities)

Since release of the Broda Report in 1999, the province has been working with public and private for-profit and non-profit housing operators to turn existing and new multi-unit facilities into long term care facilities called "supportive/assisted living facilities" – with residents paying more of costs of required supports and medical expenses. (Note: This is often called “community care” as opposed to “continuing care”.) In anticipation of the Auditor General’s report, the Alberta government provided a grant to the supportive living industry [the Alberta Senior Citizens Housing Association (ASCHA)] to develop measurable operating standards and an accreditation/review process to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and employees in Alberta’s housing facilities.

For more information on ASCHA, go to:

Fast Facts:
Continuing Care Industry in Alberta: Who’s Who ?

A Alberta Long Term Care Association (ALTCA)
The Alberta Long Term Care Association was incorporated in 1981 to represent and advance the interests of the operators and service providers of long term care facilities (i.e. nursing homes and auxiliary facilities). ALTCA Members currently provide care to more than 9,500 Alberta citizens.

Currently, there are 28 General Members, including:
Private enterprise companies such as Extendicare (Canada) Inc., Intercare Corporate Group Inc., Central Park Lodges (CPL)

Voluntary operators such as the Good Samaritan Society, Bethany Care Society

Publicly owned nursing homes and auxiliary hospitals. Prior to 1995, these facilities were operated by local municipal district boards. They are now operated as subsidiaries of your local health authorities known as Capital Care [Edmonton] and Carewest [Calgary].

Currently, there are 12 Associate Members, including :
Churchill Retirement Community
McKenzie Town Retirement Residence
Norquest College
The Renoir
Alberta Home Care Association
Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre

Currently, there are 31 Corporate Members, including:
Canada Brokerlink Inc. – one of Canada’s largest insurance brokers
Merck Frosst – Pharmaceutical
Pfizer Canada Inc. – Pharmaceutical

Annual Membership Fees
1. General Membership $38.50 per bed
2. Associate Members $500.00 per facility
3. Corporate Members $1500.00

2006 Board of Directors
President Greer Black [Bethany Care Society]
Past President Paul Rushforth [Western Operations, Extendicare Canada
Inc: Former CEO Calgary Health Region]
Vice President Public Phyllis Hempel [Capital Care Group]
Vice President Voluntary Phil Gaudet [Good Samaritan Society]
Vice President Private Sean Himsl [Central Park Lodges]
Director Dale Forbes [Carewest]
Director John Pray [Shepherd’s Care Foundation]
Director Dr. H. Patel [AgeCare Ltd.]
Executive Director Dianne Nielsen former MLA Dianne Mirosh
For more information on ALTCA, go to:

B Alberta Senior Citizens’ Housing Association (ASCHA)
Source: Alberta Chapter of the Consumers Association of Canada

The Alberta Senior Citizens’ Housing Association (ASCHA) originally only included representatives from Alberta’s 50 public lodge foundations. Since 1959, when the innovative Public Lodge system was created in Alberta, these community-run foundations have provided low-cost supportive housing along with meals, opportunities for socialization and someone on site 24/7 to monitor for safety for frail and modest income seniors who would otherwise be at risk of living in the community. (Admission was based on social not health needs determined by the local foundation, not “placement” by the health system.)

In 1995/96, the Association expanded its membership to include private sector housing developers/operators, including private enterprise companies and private non-profit organizations offering both independent and supportive/assisted living care housing options. Some of these entities also operate traditional long term care facilities on the same site as housing developments. Over the past decade, public lodges in Alberta have been called into service to keep and take in more residents with moderate to high health care needs and regional authorities now often contract with lodges to hire and provide regularly scheduled care services.

ASCHA represents over 20,000 seniors housing units across Alberta. ASCHA advocates on behalf of public and private independent and supportive seniors housing operators and is a service provider for its members.

ASCHA Board of Directors for 2006

President Darren Aldous
Vice President Dennis King

Zone Representatives
Calgary Ron Middleton
Calgary Allen Case
Central Ken MacVicar
Edmonton John Pray
Edmonton Lawrence Tymco
Peace River Wally Schroeder
Northern Bill Nimmo
Southern Michael MacDonald
APHAA (CAO’s) Representative Doug McLeod
Alberta Manager’s Society Representative Elaine Tufts
ASCHA Executive Director Irene Martin

ASCHA Membership

Source: Alberta Senior Citizens Housing Website
ASCHA membership currently consists of over 100 organizations providing a range of supportive living options. These are operated by private not-for-profit and public not-for-profit operators (Regular members) and private for-profit operators (Operator Associate members). Corporate Associate members are the products and service providers for the seniors housing industry. Stakeholder and individual members are those who have an interest in the seniors housing industry.
For more information on ASCHA, go to: