Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Today's timely tune: AHS reverses decision

Two weeks after Creekside Support Services, ArtSpace and Abby Road were told their self-directed home care contracts were cancelled by Alberta Health Services, the decision was reversed.

Here's the story

And the tune

Part 2: No more 24 hour care at Abby Road

SHAWN McCLOSKEY // PHOTO: John Lucas, The Journal

Shawn McCloskey is one of 14 residents with a disability at Abby Road Co-Op. After administrating their own home care for over 20 years, Alberta Health Services informed the residents several weeks ago their contract would not be renewed, and Revera would be their new provider. And this is where it gets downright scary. We’ll let McCloskey explain in his own words.

“As of right now, we have not been guaranteed 24-hour care (with Revera). There are multiple ways in which this has not been guaranteed as well. Right now, people at Abby Road who need home care services have a schedule when staff show up to do those services. In between those scheduled services, which can be multiple hours apart, people can need non-emergency help for a number of reasons. Dropping keys on the floor, putting on jackets, getting a glass of water, closing and opening windows. Abby Road users refers to these requests for help as "on calls" .

“We call the support service office, leave a message and wait for a staff member to come to our suite. We rarely wait long than 30 minutes. The staff is able to accommodate these "on calls" due to being let out of scheduled services early, or by having small gaps in their schedule between services.

“Revera has told us since these "on call" services are not scheduled by AHS, they cannot provide them. Revera gets paid on a pay-per-service basis and our "on calls" don't fit into that kind of model. Our block-funded model does however, quite well. What this will do is deny us the flexibility to go to work, school, community events. It hamstrings us to the point where we cannot effectively participate in society.

“More troubling is what this means for us and overnight care. Currently, we have two staff members working at night 7 days a week. And we desperately need two people working at night. The staff, at night, are largely just turning people over in bed who cannot turn themselves over, but it is back-to-back: one service right after the other. And then, when you add in "on calls", it is very busy. The problem is that there is lull in services between 2 and 5 A.M and Revera does not consider "on calls" at all, so it appears on paper as if our staff have less to do. That makes no business sense for Revera, so they won't pay for two staff members at Abby Road overnight. And the reality of that is if there is not enough help here at night for people who really need it, they cannot live here. At Abby Road, we have 14 residents with high level needs. If there is no overnight care or the flexibility of "on calls" at Abby Road, we (I am one of the 14) will be forced from our homes into long-term care facilities … essentially a hospital room."

New home care provider won't cook meals: user

Fourteen residents residents with physical disabilities of  Abby Road Co-Op in Edmonton are very tense as they prepare for a new home care provider. Their concerns range from Revera, the new care provider, not cooking meals to not providing 24-hour care to people with high needs. Resident Shawn McCloskey emailed Tait Talk with his concerns.

McCloskey says Revera has already made it clear they would warm up frozen or microwavable dinners. But not cook for residents, Revera says it’s “industry standards” and their staff is not trained to know temperatures. If Revera staff cooks something and a resident gets sick the are liable. But McCloskey says that’s only one issue. By only heating up meals, who will prepare them in the first place? Family members? What if a resident doesn’t have a family member in Edmonton. “What if we eat food that needs to be prepared but not warmed up - particularly at breakfast and lunch? Do we go without food? Ultimately what this will do is make us more dependent on other people.”

McCloskey goes on to say Revera is “implicitly acknowledging that the members of Abby Road are losing the right to control their home care and thereby their own lives. “As it stands, I am perfectly capable of knowing when my burgers are grilled enough, my potatoes baked enough and my vegetables steamed enough,” he says. But the mistake Alberta Health Services made by giving the home care contract to Revera, says McCloskey, is this: “Givng away my right to decide these things. This is not about food exactly. The larger issue here is that, with Revera, we are unable to determine what is best for ourselves.”