Seniors share concerns with Ombudsman

The Alberta Ombudsman met with more than 60 members of the Elders Advocates of Alberta Society on January 27 in Edmonton.

“We heard a lot of comments and questions about seniors care, and it echoes what we hear on a regular basis when we meet with complainants or deliver presentations across Alberta,” said Peter Hourihan, the Ombudsman. “By far, the two most significant areas of concern for Albertans are the state of the provision of health care, and the treatment of patients.”

The Ombudsman has no direct jurisdiction over the delivery of health care services and treatment, though the office can investigate complaints made concerning decisions of the Patient Concerns Office (PCO) at Alberta Health Services (AHS).

The process works like this: complainants work through AHS’s patient concerns resolution process and up to the Patient Concerns Office. If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the PCO, they can then complain to the Ombudsman’s office. However, the Ombudsman can only examine whether the correct process was followed by the PCO.

“We understand it can be challenging for people who contact our office and are looking for a solution related to, for example, their initial complaint about treatment in a health facility,” said Hourihan. “Sometimes, we’re able to address that complaint, but not always. However, meeting with groups like the Elders Advocates of Alberta Society can help people better understand the process.

“As always, our office is committed to helping folks find answers to their questions, even if we do not have jurisdiction over their concerns or complaints. If you’re wondering whether you should call us, but are unsure, don’t hesitate. Give us a call. If we can help you directly, great. If you’re concern isn’t something we can help you with, our analysts can still help point you in the right direction.”

Of course, the Ombudsman is still able to investigate complaints related to other areas that impact seniors, including appeals and reviews regarding benefit-driven programs.

If you have a question or concern about a seniors issue and want to know if the Ombudsman’s office can assist, call us toll free at 1-888-455-2756.