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Alberta government outlines plan to free up hospital beds through continuing-care investments

A continuing care facility in an undated photo. (CTV News Edmonton) A continuing care facility in an undated photo. (CTV News Edmonton)

The Alberta government has committed to moving people out of hospitals into continuing care faster.

The province's annual budget, introduced at the end of February, includes $1 billion over three years to transform the continuing care system.

An additional $650 million will be spent on creating or improving more than 1,600 spaces.

Premier Danielle Smith, Health Minister Adrianna LaGrange and Seniors Minister Jason Nixon told media on Thursday ministries are working together to come up with new and innovative ways to provide care.

"This includes funding for small homes which will be a home for four-to-14 individual residents and are designed to serve rural or remote communities or those with complex needs, or it could be continuing care homes that offer comprehensive in house services bringing together different types and levels of continuing care into one integrated community," LaGrange said.

When asked about how the new or improved 1,600 space addresses the need in the foreseeable future, Alberta Continuing Care Association chair Feisal Keshavjee told media on Thursday they've "got to start somewhere."

"When we look out over the next five or six years, I think we've estimated there is a need for about 10,000 spaces, but that's because Albertans are aging, and we've got to meet that need," said Keshavjee who joined the premier and the two ministers for the media conference at the legislature.

LaGrange said the number of Albertans over age 65 is expected to increase from one-in-seven to one-in-five in the next 20 years.

Nixon said the need for continuing-care spaces impelled the involvement of multiple ministries to address it.

"I don't think it's the (health) minister's position or the government's position that we're going to be able to build all of those units that we need," Nixon said.

"We need to build as many as we can, but there are other solutions that could help deal with some of those 10,000 spaces that may not be the traditional continuing care facility that you've seen in the past that are lodge facilities, and that you will see to be tackled through some of the smaller facilities that the (health) minister spoke about ... but further to that, bigger investments inside home care, and then overlap with some of the community care initiatives that we do." Top Stories

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