40 Years of Home Care in Manitoba
Dec 23, 2014
This past September, the Government of Manitoba recognized the 40-year anniversary of the universal home-care program by proclaiming September 8 to 14 as Home Care Week.
I can’t tell you how proud I was to recognize 40 years of our country’s first, and only, comprehensive, universal home care program.
Throughout my life, I’ve been a home care attendant, but I’ve also been a home care recipient.
Throughout the 1980s, I worked in a personal care facility in my hometown of Vita and loved providing hands-on care to the people of my community as they grew more frail and needed help around the clock.
In 1985, I joined the Home Care Team in Vita, and this turned out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my health care career.
There is nothing quite like helping someone stay in the comfort of their own home; nothing quite like having an 85-year-old Baba grab your hand and thank you over and over for her bath; or an elderly gentleman pat you on the back saying: “My daughter couldn’t have cooked me a better meal.”
These are the most fulfilling moments in a caregiver’s life.
As I said, I’ve also been a beneficiary of this great service.
In 2014, my husband, Roman, suffered a stroke at 52. I’d just been given the opportunity of a lifetime ― my union was sending me to study at the Labour College of Canada in Ottawa. Roman insisted I follow through with my studies, and because of the Home Care Team in Vita, I am a Labour College graduate today. I was able to fulfill my dream because I knew my husband was in great hands.
I was secure in the knowledge that Roman had someone coming three times each day, not only to prepare his meals, but to take the time to make sure he was alright. I knew he was going to have some company, another human being to check in on him.
It was so very hard to be away at that time, but I can honestly say I’m President of the MGEU because of the Home Care Team in Vita and the fantastic Home Care program of Manitoba.
I would also like to thank my fellow members ― the case coordinators who work with families to sketch out a care plan; the resource coordinators who schedule literally hundreds of visits per week; the attendants who show they care with a kind word or touch.
I want to thank the governments that had the foresight to create and maintain this essential public system for 40 years. But we are not done. Our challenge today here in Manitoba is to continue building.
We need to ensure that home care as a field continues gain the respect it deserves, and that clients never become one more number to “get done” before workers rush off to their next client.
Let’s keep investing in this great program.
To help remind us of that objective, the MGEU has produced a home care pin for workers to wear throughout the province as we celebrate the 40th anniversary. I hope that our members will wear them proudly as we work together over the next forty years to keep the “care” in home care.
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