8 May 2023
As a trusted leader in Calgary’s seniors housing market, Silvera is also a committed advocate for affordable seniors’ housing. We partner with all levels of government to ensure independent older adults have access to safe and affordable housing options, as well as the important services and supports that help them age in place. During the provincial election campaign, Silvera is advocating for four key priorities: workforce stability; 24/7 homecare; more affordable housing, and outbreak funding.
We all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is doubly true for the prevention of contagious illness spread in congregate care settings.
“Prevention costs far less than hospital stays and poor quality of life for seniors,” says Olivia Chubey, Silvera’s Chief Service and Operations Officer.
Silvera is asking the Alberta government for updated funding models for the seniors care sector that effectively support and respond to our ability to manage outbreaks, including:
- Prevention of COVID-19, influenza, GI, and other public health illnesses (i.e. use of efficient Clorox 360 disinfection equipment, cleaning supplies, training, and awareness, etc.)
- Response to declared outbreaks of any kind (i.e. access to PPE inventory, communications, vacancy remuneration, and funding to manage the impact of staffing restrictions (i.e. staff contained to a single site or co-hort)
- Recognition and provision of health care staff in all supportive living communities to help reduce unnecessary use of EMS and hospital services
- Provision of on-site vaccination to staff at the same time as residents
- Provision of on-site staff swabbing in an event of respiratory outbreak at the same time as residents for efficient outbreak response
“Preparedness is key in terms of preventing and managing outbreaks,” says Olivia. “Silvera’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was highly successful primarily because we had a stable staff contingent, which resulted in consistent implementation of Silvera’s already-strong outbreak protocols.
“We were able to protect our employees and residents adequately because we mobilized early to secure PPE access, such as masks, goggles, and disinfection supplies. Silvera also invested in staff stability through incentives to reduce employee turnover during the pandemic. It paid off in spades.”
Silvera is advocating for adequate sector funding to ensure workforce stability and PPE readiness in the event of any future significant public health outbreaks, which are becoming more common.
“These tools and risk-mitigating measures cost money to keep seniors safe. During the pandemic, Silvera absorbed some of these costs and we were also provided temporary enhanced government funding to help offset some of these expenses, which proved essential to sector viability,” Olivia says.
The government has stated that COVID-19-related funding for supportive living operators will be phased out sometime this year.
When that funding is eliminated, existing funding models will not sufficiently cover the costs of outbreak management and workforce stability. For Albertans to have confidence in congregate seniors housing and accommodation options, operators need to have the resources to effectively prevent and respond to outbreaks that pose a risk to seniors in these settings.
“Safety and affordable housing are priorities for Alberta seniors,” says Olivia. “If they don’t have these two foundational human needs met, the rest doesn’t matter. And to effectively meet both of these needs, you need a stable sector workforce.”
Did you know?
Some of disinfection processes Silvera adopted during the pandemic have continued to be best practices in our supportive living communities.
“We are very happy to report that our rigorous and efficient disinfection protocols in high-touch common areas resulted in zero cases of influenza this past outbreak season, despite the resurgence of influenza outbreaks in Calgary’s supportive living sector,” says Olivia.
You’re encouraged to visit the Advocacy page of Silvera’s website for a description of our four key priorities for the Alberta government.