Serving you: March/April 2015

March 5, 2015 by admin

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is responsible for the care and well-being of qualified veterans accommodated in long-term care (LTC) facilities across Canada. In October 2013, The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) was awarded the Outreach and Visitation Initiative contract from VAC. This replaced the Long-Term Care Surveyor Program.

VAC currently supports more than 7,000 veterans in approximately 1,500 facilities and does not have the available resources to conduct visits with a large number of veterans in long-term care without a contractual agreement in place. VAC recently announced that it has increased its commitment to this initiative and is requesting The Royal Canadian Legion volunteer network to make approximately 8,000 visits on an annual basis to veterans who are receiving financial assistance from VAC for long-term care.

This initiative facilitates face-to-face visits with veterans, providing them with an opportunity to have a conversation and social visit with a volunteer and to raise concerns or identify needs that might be addressed by VAC. The value of this initiative to meet with a veteran in a facility cannot be overstated.

As the largest veterans service organization in Canada, The Royal Canadian Legion is uniquely qualified to conduct fieldwork and reach out with social visits to our veterans residing in community LTC facilities. The Legion has more than 300,000 members in more than 1,400 branches in small and large centres across Canada. The Outreach and Visitation Initiative draws on this resource.

Volunteer Legion members, who are screened and selected for volunteer training, are assigned responsibility for visits to sites in the geographical area of their residence. In response to tasking by VAC staff, volunteers conduct visits with veterans and provide completed reports to the head office. The report is sent with the volunteer’s cost-recovery form to RCL Dominion Headquarters.

Program overview is maintained by the Dominion Command Veterans, Service and Seniors Committee. Control and co-ordination is carried out by the Dominion Command Service Bureau, which has established a volunteer database for this purpose. The response and performance of volunteers is monitored and they are reimbursed only on the basis of the number of veterans visited.

If you have questions about the initiative or as a Legion member would like to volunteer, please contact the Outreach and Visitation Initiative Co-ordinator, Gary Foster, at Dominion Command (1-877-534-4666) or at gfoster@legion.ca

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