Concerns have been raised by recipients about changes made to Alberta's self-management care program, changes the NDP opposition say makes the process harder, less accessible and more intrusive than it needs to be.
That was the message delivered Friday by Lethbridge MLA Shannon Phillips on a visit to the home of a man in the self-managed care program.
Phillips said her office has been receiving a growing number of calls from constituents concerned about the direction the self-managed care program has taken.
"Every single person who has contacted us has had an annual review that asked really invasive details," Phillips said. "And then reduced amounts paid.
"So people have had to either reduce their hours of care or pay privately to maintain their care levels."
The annual review of homecare needs has changed and program participants are now required to provide minute-by-minute reports of their daily lives, including bathroom trips, getting dressed, meal preparation and the time it takes to eat.
Homecare providers are expected to follow the allotted time for each task, which means, for example, 20 minutes allotted for eating.
Program participants such as Lethbridge resident Ryan Gerstenbuhler said the changes don't necessarily represent their everyday reality, and have the potential to create hazardous life choices.
"That is what this form is about," Gerstenbuhler said in an interview with CTV News. "It allots a certain amount of time based on standards and performance times that are enforced in common facilities, (as opposed to private residences).
"This form is taking my life as an everyday citizen and is taking my own apartment and defining it as a facility."
The changes have provoked concerns that many more people are at stake of getting their benefits cut further, with some concerned they will have to leave the self-managed care program and move into a care facility — an outcome, Phillips said, that no one wants.
"Self-managed care is about choice, and it's about the choice to stay home, and to stay in one's home getting the care that you need," she said.