For Legion members, the Long Term Care Surveyor (LTCS) program continues to be a popular service activity since it was instituted in 2003.
In its essence, the LTCS program sees the Legion providing trained surveyors to visit and interview veterans in long-term care facilities at the request of Veterans Affairs Canada. It also complements branch social visits and provincial command fact-finding research in the subject care homes.
This past year, more than 2,500 veterans residing in almost 700 different facilities were visited. They were also given questionnaires soliciting their comments on the quality of care they were receiving. These completed questionnaires were then sent to VAC for information and any necessary followup.
An analysis of these questionnaires shows veteran satisfaction with their level of care and accommodation has steadily increased over the years while institutional food remains the biggest challenge. The Legion also notes with satisfaction that any individual issues requiring the intervention of expert staff are handled both in a timely fashion and in total confidentiality.
The VAC/Legion LTCS program partnership contract is being renegotiated in 2008 and it is expected that more Legion volunteers will be needed to handle the anticipated increase in demand for our services. At present, there are approximately 130 Legion surveyors that are available for tasking throughout the country. That having been said, certain urban areas such as Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Toronto, Quebec City, Chicoutimi, Que., Edmundston and Moncton in New Brunswick and Truro and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia remain underserved.
Training courses for Legion surveyors occur approximately twice a year to either train or re-qualify volunteers. The location of the specific training is usually determined by the geographic area where the demand for trained volunteers is greatest. Last year training courses for Legion volunteers were held in Vancouver and Halifax. This year, we anticipate a training course in Edmonton and Saint John, N.B.
These two-day courses provide Legion volunteers with background information on VAC, the latest developments at the Legion and LTCS program as well as the knowledge and skills required to conduct a proper interview and submit detailed reports on the veterans interviewed to VAC. It should be pointed out that the volunteers are reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses when on assignment.
Those Legion members living in the aforementioned cities who may be interested in helping with the LTCS program are asked to contact Gordon Beech or Bruce Poulin, toll free at 1-877-534-4666, at Dominion Command headquarters.
Serving You is written by Legion command service officers. To reach a service officer call toll-free 1-877-534-4666, or consult a command website.