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LTCAM advocates for seniors - and the staff who serve them

LTCAM advocates for seniors - and the staff who serve them
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Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba

Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, March / April 2012

The Long Term and Continuing Care Association of Manitoba (LTCAM) is a non-profit organization that incorporated in 1959 and was created by a group of visionary nursing home operators who got together to see what they could do to provide better services for seniors.

"Back in 1959, personal care homes, as they are now known, were not an insured service and there weren't very many residences. They advocated to raise awareness for the need for seniors' care and services," says LTCAM Executive Director Jan Legeros. "They also got together to talk about standards of care and quality indicators. They set up review teams who went to each other's nursing homes and benefited from each other's feedback. It was really way before its time."

It wasn't until 1973 that personal care homes became an insured service covered by Manitoba Health. In 2004, Manitoba conducted the first Provincial Standards review. This now provides a more consistent approach to ensuring quality care.

LTCAM is a member-driven association that has about 80 members at present. Legeros says, "We advocate on behalf of seniors and the staff at the residences who serve them. We also cut through the confusion and red tape involved in finding quality services for seniors and information for the public. Our members make it possible for us to do what we do."

LTCAM members are retirement residences, supportive housing residences, and personal care homes, as well as a number of commercial/affiliate members such as home care agencies and other specialized, related services.

"We advocate, partner and communicate with government and the regional health authorities to make sure quality is as high as it can be. We also advocate for affordability and access to services, as some options are not covered by Manitoba Health. While there are a set number of subsidies and supplements available, we think there should be more; especially for couples seeking services and care," says Legeros. "We promote and encourage more public information and education, not only for seniors but also for their caregivers and families, including financial information. When you plan for retirement, you should think about the possible extra costs that may come along as you transition into using services. If you educate yourself about the options, then at least you have done some preplanning."

Back in 2006 when Legeros started working for LTCAM, she realized there was no one website a person could go to and get all the information they needed. The LTCAM staff, consisting of Jan Legeros and Suzanne Verstraete, have now revamped their website into a one-stop shop for information and made it as user-friendly as possible for ease of navigation.

For example, by using the interactive provincial map, you can focus on the area of the province where you live and check out the member residences in that area. They have created a question-and-answer sheet for prospective residents or their caregivers to use when they speak with staff at seniors' residences. The website is also available in French. For people who may not be able to access the website, LTCAM will assist by phone.

Legeros says, "We want to get this information out to the general public, rural areas and to potential new members, whom we welcome. Members find our communication, information and networking services invaluable. In a recent survey members described us as the 'main repository for information.' Membership in the Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care ensures members are also up to date on national issues across the country."

This message is sponsored by the Long Term & Contiuning Care Association of Manitoba.

Wave: March / April 2012

About Wave

Wave is published six times a year by the Winnipeg Health Region in cooperation with the Winnipeg Free Press. It is available at newsstands, hospitals and clinics throughout Winnipeg, as well as McNally Robinson Books.

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