1. When is Canterbury Foundation expecting to vaccinate seniors at Canterbury?
We have not received a date from Alberta Health Services (AHS) for when our seniors will receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Canterbury has been actively and publicly advocating for our site to be eligible alongside the long term care and designated supportive living facilities. We expect that when the province receives enough shipments of vaccine to re-start immunizations, that seniors over 75 will be next in terms of priority and therefore, Canterbury residents will be eligible. However, we are still advocating that as a facility, we are prioritized and that a clinic will be held on-site rather than requiring our residents to go out into community.
Canterbury Foundation is a licensed supportive living organization providing care and services to over 270 seniors in Edmonton. Care is provided through a congregate living home care contract with AHS. As such, our care staff have begun to receive the vaccine however, this is currently on hold due to the vaccine shortage. This means that 32% of our staff are eligible to receive the vaccine at this time however 68% of our staff are not being considered for a vaccine.
2. Why are some of Canterbury’s residents not able to receive the vaccine in the first round of vaccinations?
Alberta Health has prioritized residents and staff of funded long term care and those in designated supportive living sites who have AHS funding for this type of care.
There are thousands of seniors who have chosen to live in unfunded licensed supportive living. These sites receive a combination of home care and private care services. Over 64% of residents at Canterbury receive funded home care, and only those residents are being considered, (but have yet to receive) the vaccine at this time. This leaves 36% of residents continuing to live at greater risk of COVID infection. This is unacceptable to Canterbury Foundation.
3. What are the different types of care in Alberta?
The continuing care system in Alberta is structured by legislation.
LONG TERM CARE: Collectively, the term “long-term care” refers to sites governed by the Nursing Homes Act and auxiliary hospitals under the Hospitals Act.
DESIGNATED SUPPORTIVE LIVING: is a type of supportive living where the operators enter into contract with AHS for the provision of publicly funded care.
Long term care and designated supportive living settings provide publicly funded care either directly by AHS or by a contracted partner. These are the sites being prioritized for the first doses of vaccine.
LICENSED SUPPORTIVE LIVING: refers to sites that are licensed under the Supportive Living Accommodation and Licensing Act. Canterbury is a not-for-profit licensed supportive living facility and provides home care to our residents both under contract with AHS as well as private home care. Canterbury does not have a long term care contract with AHS but rather a home care contract.
Residents in supportive living have access to AHS home care if needed or can purchase care privately from the operator where offered. Those Canterbury residents who do not receive care through AHS home care are not being offered vaccinations at this time and must wait for the 2nd round of vaccinations slated to start some time in February for those 75 and older, provided Alberta has access to vaccine, which it just announced it currently has none.
Canterbury’s residents do have some very complex needs and are provided with 24 hour RN, HCA and LPN services, just like designated supportive living sites. Despite that, those, even with complex medical needs and who are at greater risk due to COVID-19, who are not receiving publicly funded care, are not eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A.
4. How many seniors does this affect?
The continuing care system is very large and complex. There are currently 20,000 seniors living in licensed supportive living who are not part of the phase 1A vaccine rollout.
5. What is Canterbury Foundation doing to see that all seniors are prioritized?
Canterbury Foundation has written the Premier, the Minister of Health and the Chief Medical Officer of Health to ask that all seniors, regardless of what type of continuing care home they reside in, are prioritized for the vaccine as soon as possible. We have engaged news media to share our concern. We are working in collaboration with our partners – the Alberta Seniors and Community Housing Association (ASCHA) and with all licensed supportive living members to represent the concerns of all seniors in congregate living environments, who are at greatest risk of COVID-19. Additionally, we continue to bring our concerns forward to our partners at Alberta Health Services to have our voice heard.
6. Can I switch from privately-funded to publicly-funded care at Canterbury in order to be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1A? Is that easy to do?
As noted above, Canterbury does not operate funded long term care or designated supportive living beds, but rather we are licensed supportive living providing care funded through home care. This means that we do not have any publicly funded beds at our site. These funded beds can only be accessed through having an assessment completed by Alberta Health Services to determine eligibility for this level of care. If a resident does qualify for designated supportive living or long term care, they would then have to move to a funded facility once a bed becomes available.
7. What can I do to help advocate for the vaccine?
One avenue available to Albertans is the Office of Alberta Health Advocate. Catherine Douglas is the manager of this office and knows Canterbury and the continuing care sector well. We would suggest that residents and family members call her with their concerns regarding the vaccine. She can be reached at 780-641-9670 or [email protected]
Residents and families can also contact the Premier or the Minister of Health:
Office of the Premier
Email: [email protected]
Minister of Health