As a home care client of Partners for Home and a participant in Manitoba’s Self/Family Managed Care Program, I have experienced some things with regards to travel that other families should know. To begin with, if anything is a double edged sword, travel would be it. If we plan to travel to outside of Manitoba there are a few things we should know and if we have a friend or family member planning to travel into Manitoba, there are a few other things to know.
If you are a Manitoban you probably have experienced the ability to choose Self Or Family Managed Home care in Winnipeg. Self managed care is a fairly radical departure from the traditional hierarchical relationship between the “expert” provider and the “non-expert” patient where, as receiver of care, the provider works under the consumers direction. Instead of an agency or healthcare professional determining when and how the individual’s care will be provided, this is done by the individual themselves or the family or support group on their behalf. This same feature may not be available everywhere you might think of traveling. But in North America, agencies that can provide this service with varying quality can be found if you search hard enough. The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has foreseen the possibility that people receiving home care may still have enough courage to travel for any number of reasons including events, learning opportunities, family reasons. If you are already receiving a specific number of hours of home care support, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has made it possible for you to travel up to 30 days while still continuing your coverage.
First, even with whatever shortcomings you may have experienced with homecare, be aware that Manitoba, the 1st province in Canada to introduce a province wide program (1974) is recognized as one of the strongest programs in Canada. When we choose Self Managed Care we do so to better manage issues of reliability and predictability in your personal provider/s. When I traveled to Palm Springs for a family wedding this spring, I found an agency promising me the same caregiver each day. What I ended up with over the week, was 7 different people, each of whom had to be trained every morning. If you are like me and have limited use of your arms and legs, being transferred from bed to wheelchair by a new person every day can be unnerving. And while I should not try to draw a universal conclusion from my experience, only one of these providers actually provided homecare support as their sole job. While I could state they were all caring, at least 2 also had road construction jobs, another was a carpenter, another was preparing to go into the military. You might have to prepare yourself for that kind of possibility no matter how carefully you plan ahead.
That brought me to wonder how easy we make it for people welcoming family, friends or colleagues to Manitoba who might need varying degrees of home care support. I decided to ask the owners and the Head of Care Operations of Partners for Home whether they would be willing to carry on their commitment to high quality services for travelers to the province of Manitoba and I was answered with an unreservedly strong “absolutely”. So, if you are faced with the question of whether in Manitoba it is possible to find support for one of your friends, colleagues or family members, you have nothing to fear. And if they come from a place that recognizes as the Manitoba government does, your need to carry on the fullest possible life including some travel, they may even be able to continue the subsidy they receive from home.