CALGARY — On Thursday, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the province will provide more funding to improve wages and create further healthcare capacity in Alberta.
Up to $36 million will be provided to allow Albertans to receive care outside of hospitals and free up space and resources to treat COVID-19 patients.
WATCH: Health Minister Tyler Shandro joins Dr. Deena Hinshaw to provide an update on COVID-19 in Alberta.
As of Thursday, more than 400 Albertans are waiting in hospital to move into continuing care facilities, and more are waiting to return home with the support of home care services.
“We know that home care agencies are experiencing staffing challenges,” said Shandro. “Increasing the pool of available staff will mean we can move additional patients from hospitals to their homes when it is safe to do so. This is a benefit to patients who would rather get the care they need in the comfort of their own homes. It also benefits hospitals as they manage the increasing number of patients who need beds because of COVID-19 complications.”
Contracted home care agencies are set to receive $22 million over the course of two years to give wage increases to certified healthcare aids.
The funding will provide a pay increase of $2 an hour over the next 13 months for healthcare aides working in homes contracted by Alberta Health Services (AHS).
Meanwhile, an additional $14 million in funding will help to expand the workforce capacity to support home care and continuing care facilities until Mar. 31, 2022.
The province says this funding will support a variety of “innovative approaches” to mobilize existing or new staff to where they are most needed for short periods of time.