The Manitoba government is investing more than $3.3 million to pilot a new home and community care program that will create more choice, independence and flexibility for clients with complex care needs to provide appropriate supports so they can remain in their homes instead of being prematurely transitioned to personal care homes.
“Manitoba seniors have told us they want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible while they age, so they can stay socially active and connected to their families and communities,” said Seniors and Long-term Care Minister Scott Johnston. “The new client-determined community care program will offer new care options tailored to the health needs and goals of clients, and give Manitobans access to services that safely support their wellness and independence at home.”
In the client-determined community care approach, an approved service provider will work in partnership with the client to provide intensive, co-ordinated, and flexible services to enable them to maximize their function and independence. This new service model will provide clients with access to a wide range of health-care professionals and care support services, home support services, and community services to help them stay in their homes.
The minister noted the new program will strengthen the spectrum of provincial home and community care services and improve the health-care system’s capacity to support eligible clients. The services available within client-determined community care will be broad as varied complex care needs require different options and the aim is to utilize existing local community services, the minister added.
The minister noted the pilot of this new service will support individuals in select communities in Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority (Selkirk and Beausejour), Prairie Mountain Health (Brandon), and Southern Health-Santé Sud (Steinbach and Portage la Prairie).
To be eligible for the pilot, these individuals will be from the select communities and have completed treatment in hospital, but cannot safely return home with existing services or are living in the community and are at risk for premature placement in a personal care home.
Access to this new model of service will require an assessment of participants’ health needs by regional health authority clinicians, who will determine eligibility and level of funding. Clients will be empowered to select care options from a broad basket of services provided by approved agencies. Service providers will work with participants to develop care plans and either provide services directly or co-ordinate the delivery of services by other agencies in collaboration with the client.
“The focus of the services will be on ‘doing with’ the client rather than ‘doing for’ them, increasing their independence to help them remain at home, where they can stay connected to their community, family, and loved ones,” said Debbie Poole, regional lead, clinical planning, Prairie Mountain Health.
The new program will focus on enhancing care in three service areas including:
- health-care professional and care support services may include nursing, therapy, personal care supports and respite care to optimize function, provide support to caregivers, and keep people well;
- home support services may include meal supports, home maintenance including yard work, snow shoveling and housekeeping to keep people safe in their homes; and
- recreational and other community programming, such as local seniors centres, and transportation to health appointments and community programs to keep people connected to their community.
“We have learned that people want to age in place with dignity, respect and comfort,” said Audrey Harder, executive director, Serving Seniors Inc. “This initiative creates the potential to provide more options for people with complex needs to be able to stay in community as opposed to transitioning into a care home due to lack of available in-home supports.”
The pilot program is expected to launch in spring 2024 and will provide support to 200 clients at a time once fully implemented, the minister noted. The request for proposals for service providers will be posted in the coming weeks.
“As an advocate and voice for persons living with dementia and their families, we’ve heard from our clients about the need for greater flexibility within the home and community care program,” said Jessica Harper, First Link senior manager, Alzheimer Society of Manitoba. “We applaud this pilot project as a positive step in addressing the care needs of Manitobans, including persons living with dementia and their caregivers, and look forward to seeing the changes that will be made to promote greater opportunities for choice, independence, and flexibility within the program.”