The Manitoba government is marking the 40th anniversary of the Manitoba Home Care Program and is calling on Manitobans to share their stories and experiences, and recognize a home-care provider who has made a difference, Health Minister Erin Selby said today.
“The Manitoba Home Care Program provides all health-care and home-support services free of charge, a unique feature of Manitoba’s program compared to most other provinces, helping close to 40,000 Manitobans safely stay in their homes longer,” said Minister Selby. “The program has faced challenges over the years including service cuts, a privatization experiment and user fees introduced in the 1990s but we chose to protect and enhance these services. We also believe home-care workers are the heart and soul of this program, and we will be celebrating their hard work and accomplishments throughout the year.”
“In my time with the Manitoba Home Care Program, I’ve worked with hundreds of clients to make sure they receive the quality care they need to remain in their homes,” said Brenda Krulicki, who has worked as a home-care case co-ordinator for more than 38 years. “I’ve been fortunate to have a career where I could make a real difference for Manitoba clients and families.”
The minister noted the Manitoba government is launching a new, five-year blueprint for continuing care to help meet the growing demand for services for seniors and to introduce new caregiver supports to help people live as independently as possible.
Advancing Continuing Care – A Blueprint to Support System Changewill guide provincial plans to support seniors and their family caregivers including help for Manitobans living in the community, those receiving home care and those in long-term care, Minister Selby said.
Areas for action in the blueprint include:
helping individuals to stay at home by investing in community supports and focusing on wellness when delivering home-care services;
improving access to home-care services;
strengthening and promoting collaboration between health-care partners to keep people at home;
strengthening and expanding options for community-based housing as alternatives to personal care homes;
ensuring there are enough long-term care beds to meet the needs of Manitobans;
developing innovative ways of delivering services to improve health outcomes for personal care home residents; and
committing to dedicated health technology to help improve the quality and co-ordination of care, such as information systems in home care and personal care homes.
“We are continuing to support home-care and long-term care services by investing in these areas and providing supports to help people to live independently,” said Healthy Living and Seniors Minister Sharon Blady. “This new blueprint will guide the province’s work to improve the lives of Manitoba seniors and others with chronic illnesses and disabilities and providing quality care that allows them to remain in their homes.”
“Manitobans are proud of the contributions home care workers have made to building this program, strengthening the health-care system and easing the pressure on acute care facilities,” said Michelle Gawronsky, president, Manitoba Government Employees Union. “Today, there are challenges workers continue to face to ensure families get the care and dignity they deserve, but the home care workforce is committed to building on the successful legacy of the past 40 years.”
The Manitoba Home Care Program was launched in September 1974, the first comprehensive, universal provincial home-care service in the country, the minister said. The continuing care office was led by Evelyn Shapiro, whose work in this area was recognized with an appointment to the Order of Canada in 2006. Since 1999, the program has been expanded to more seniors, more workers have been hired and user fees introduced in the 1990s have been eliminated, Minister Selby added.
Minister Selby noted additional improvements to home care and continuing care will be announced in the coming months including finalizing a strategy on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, enhancing caregiver education and supports, and launching more hospital home teams to enhance co-ordinated care for clients.
A celebration will be held to honour home-care providers in September and share the stories of Manitobans to mark the official anniversary of the program in collaboration with the regional health authorities, Minister Selby said.