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With COVID-19 cases rising, is home care for seniors a viable option?

(CREDIT: iStock Photo)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Canadians may be looking for more options for elderly relatives as the COVID-19 pandemic leads to thousands of deaths around the country in long-term care facilities.

In Alberta, home care is an option only in limited circumstances and it may not meet every need that someone is looking for.

Fred Franchuk is co-owner of Home Instead Senior Care and said a voucher system should be considered, which could make home care a more accessible option.

“Most Albertans are not happy with the home care that they’re getting because it’s very much a task-driven model. Somebody’s come in to give the senior a bath (but) if that senior needs additional support and it’s not on the checklist, they don’t get it.”

WATCH: Alberta senior care centres hit hardest by COVID-19

Right now, home care is only available in certain situations–usually short-term–and doesn’t cover all the needs, like in subsidized facilities
Franchuk suggests the government could select vendors that Albertans would choose from both private and public.

“If the senior indicates they need with maybe more time or maybe they need other supports in the home, it might get reported up. But the system is so big and so complex and now with COVID, the whole system has slowed down.”

As of Thursday’s COVID-19 update, 31 long term care or supportive living sites are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks, including eight in Calgary and 18 in Edmonton.

Roughly three-quarters of COVID-19 deaths in Alberta have been linked to long term care facilities.