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Record of Discussion – Care and Support Advisory Group Teleconference

Friday, December 9, 2016
1330 – 1530 (EDT)

In Attendance

  • Dr. Alice Aiken, Dalhousie University
  • Sylvain Bouliane, VeteransCanada.ca
  • Mary Boutette, The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (Member Co-chair)
  • Major (Retired) Bruce Henwood (Member Co-chair)
  • Captain (Navy) Marie-France Langlois, Director, Casualty Support Management, Canadian Armed Forces
  • Marie Andrée Malette, Caregivers Brigade
  • Percy Price, NATO Veterans Organization of Canada
  • Sandra Williamson, representing Libby Douglas (VAC Co-chair)

Regrets

  • Candace Chartier, Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care
  • Libby Douglas, DG, Service Delivery Management (Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC Co-chair)
  • Debbie Eisan, Aboriginal Veterans Autochtones
  • Carolyn Gasser, Royal Canadian Legion
  • Dr. Norah Keating, University of Alberta
  • Patrick Murphy-Lavallée, Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal
  • Andrea Siew, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman (Observer)

Welcome and Overview of Agenda

Bruce Henwood, the new member Co-chair, thanked participants for joining the conference call and indicated that an additional member Co-chair, Mary Boutette, was identified. Going forward, the member Co-chairs will lead all meetings and conference calls with input and support from the VAC Co-chair. Warrant Officer (retired) Andrew McLean, a former Advisory Group member, and Carolyn Gasser, the former member Co-chair, were thanked and acknowledged for their contribution to the work of the Advisory Group.

Record of Discussion

The draft Record of Discussion from the October 4, 2016 face-to-face meeting was reviewed by members in attendance.

Post Stakeholder Summit Discussion

Members provided their comments regarding the October 2016 Stakeholder Summit:

  • They found the presentations provided by the various advisory groups to be very informative and demonstrated there are overlaps in the issues/items being considered by each group.
  • Given the overlaps, they noted a need to determine how all the groups will move forward in providing sound advice to the Minister.
    • It was noted that Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach Directorate may arrange a meeting of Advisory Group Co-chairs in the New Year to discuss potential collaborations and sharing of information and to determine a way forward.
  • Computerized voting technology was not well received by all members as it was felt Summit participants were not able to make an informed choice.
  • Members asked about the Department’s plan of action for the computerized voting technology results.
  • Members expressed a preference for break-out sessions and more time for discussion/interaction, as organized for the May 2016 Summit.
  • They proposed a live question and answer session, with a moderator, instead of the computerized voting technology, would provide greater opportunity for all invitees to participate.
  • The Facebook live event was not well attended; members felt the time it took could have been used for further discussion/networking.
  • For a future Summit, members suggested a short update from each of the heads of the various Veterans organizations in relation to their priorities would be beneficial considering the large numbers they represent.

Round Table Discussion

During the roundtable discussion, members identified their top points for consideration for Ministerial recommendations from the group:

  • Home care – Veterans Independence Program (VIP) – There is a need to make sure that the person providing the support and care to the Veteran is qualified and able to do so. In many situations it may be the spouse/partner providing the care while they themselves may be in poor health.
  • Service delivery – More timely delivery of long term care benefits and services is required. Reference was made to the Guided Support proposal VAC is currently working on.
  • Access to long term care beds – Issues related to long term care bed access for WWII and Korean Veterans versus post Korea Veterans need to be addressed.
  • Access to long term care and eligibility – Access should be based on an individual’s needs not eligibility requirements, including if necessary a functional assessment. Members noted that the current regulations are outdated and complex, due to the piecemeal changes over the years. Members can access the Veterans Health Care Regulations at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-90-594/page-1.html
  • Communication – Clear and pro-active communications are required to address a general lack of knowledge and understanding on who qualifies for VAC support services (VIP, long term care, etc.).
  • Assisted living services – To be considered
  • Families, Aboriginal groups and cultural diversity – The Advisory Group needs to consider these groups at it moves forward with recommendations to the Minister.
  • VAC paradigm shift - VAC needs to re-think its current business model and become more pro-active rather than reactive to the needs of Veterans and their families.
  • Life time care and support – There is a need to consider the continuum of care throughout an individual’s life course. For example, transition from VIP at home to assisted living and then into long term care with clear definitions of terms being used.
  • VIP Grant Determination Tool (GDT) – The group wants a full understanding of the GDT.
  • One member indicated that VAC continues to support Veterans financially with intermediate care and chronic care needs but no longer supports Veterans with lower level of care needs in adult residential care.

VAC provided clarification on the concern raised about access to long term care beds: a new agreement with the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre in Toronto provides access to long term care beds to a broader group of Veterans. Previously, the only beds at Sunnybrook were contract beds and only certain Second World War and Korean War Veterans were eligible for them, as outlined in the Veterans Health Care Regulations. Under the new agreement, up to 30 beds within the facility’s existing bed complement will be available for Veterans who are eligible for "care in a community facility other than a contract bed". As such, access has been expanded to more Second World War and Korean War Veterans as well as to post-Korean War (Canadian Armed Forces) Veterans. These beds are referred to as preferred admission community beds; they are not contract beds.

With respect to funding, the Department will contribute to these Veterans’ accommodation and meal (A&M) costs in the same way that VAC financially supports eligible Veterans in care in any other nursing home or long term care facility. The maximum amount that Veterans must pay toward their A&M costs regardless of whether they are in a contract bed or a community bed is currently $998.90 per month.

During the round table, possible agenda items were identified for the next face-to-face meeting:

  1. Status Update: Veterans Health Care Regulations Review including updates on:
    1. Treatment benefits
    2. VIP
    3. Long Term Care
  2. Presentation on Guided Support Proposal
  3. Updates on and from the various Task Forces
    1. 20/20 Task Force
    2. Seamless Transition Task Force (CAF to VAC hand off)
  4. OVO brief on Long Term Care
  5. VIP Grant Determination Tool brief

Closing Remarks

The member Co-chair thanked members for attending and for their contribution to the discussion. He indicated that he will draft a straw-man proposal for the group to generate further discussion on priorities and recommendations. It was suggested that the next meeting be held in Charlottetown in January or February 2017; date options to be explored. It was also suggested that the group meet in-camera, via teleconference, every two to three weeks at a set time for 30 minutes maximum to further define work and recommendations to be provided to the Minister.

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