The province announced Monday it will be taking steps to help support staff in continuing care facilities, including a $2 per hour wage raise during the pandemic.
On Monday afternoon, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced measures to help support continuing care facilities which are seeing much higher rates of COVID-19 outbreaks than the rest of the population.
“We are confident that these measures will make a difference to ensure our continuing care facilities in Alberta are as safe as possible,” Shandro said.
The province will increase health care aide staffing levels and top up the wages during the pandemic by $2 per hour for health care aides, who provide the majority of care in continuing care facilities.
The wage supplement is to help relieve the financial burden for aides who normally work at several locations, but who are now being restricted to work at one location due to new measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The province will also be fast-tracking health care aide students through paid practicums, to help get more staff into continuing care facilities.
“This will mean up to 1,000 student placements,” Shandro said.
In addition, $24.5 million is being advanced to operators to help address immediate cost pressures due to COVID-19.
“Health care aides are integral to the well-being of residents – and they play a critical role across the health-care system. We cannot overlook their contribution, and we must not lose sight of how the pressures they face can directly impact the functioning of entire facilities. We are confident that these measures will make a difference not only to health care aides, but to the residents of these facilities who deserve quality and compassionate care,” Shandro said.
These new measures are estimated to cost an additional $7.3 million per month and are specifically for the pandemic period.