02/27/2014 07:29 EST | Updated 04/29/2014 05:59 EDT

Some Albertans Barred From Visiting Seniors In Long-Term Care Homes

Alessia Pederzoli via Getty Images
EDMONTON - Family members of some long-term care patients in Alberta say managers have barred them from seeing their loved ones.

Several people spoke out at an Edmonton news conference Thursday saying this is unfair and called on the provincial government to step in.

One woman burst into tears, saying she was confronted when she wanted to see how her husband’s bed sores were being treated.

They say they can't get a judge to make a ruling on patient access and there is no formal appeal process.

The group Public Interest Alberta wants the province to investigate.

But Health Minister Fred Horne says such cases are relatively rare in Alberta and his main concern is for the safety of patients and staff.

Some of the families, however, say Horne has not responded to their concerns.

“I’m not able to be with my parents,” said Shauna McHarg, who noted she’s not allowed to see her father and that access to her mother is limited to one hour per day.

“It’s very important this gets resolved immediately. Our family time together is just so important.”

Horne told reporters in Calgary that long-term care managers are within their rights to bar people from facilities in certain circumstances.

"Obviously someone who is being abusive to staff or to residents or interfering with the delivery of care to residents in a facility — obviously that would be a concern," Horne said.

"It is important that if someone is asked to leave they are told the reason why and that they are told about what other recourses are available to them."

Horne said people can file complaints with Alberta Health Services and Alberta's ombudsman. (CHED)

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