Hay River one of four communities to test paid family/caregiver option

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The GNWT has chosen Hay River to be one of four communities for a pilot project to test a paid family/caregiver option.

In a letter last month, Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy informed the Town of Hay River that the community had been chosen as one of the hosts.

Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy has announced that Hay River is among four communities chosen for a three-year pilot project to test a paid family/community caregiver option.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“The department will test this new option as a three-year pilot project in four NWT communities to see if it will help elders and persons with disabilities to remain living in their community,” Abernethy wrote in the letter received by the town on July 23.

The option is to support elders and persons with disabilities when they need more care than what family caregivers or the Home Care Program can provide.

“This pilot project will not replace family relationships and caregiving responsibilities, but will look at how to build capacity in the community to help support elders, persons with disabilities and their families,” Abernethy noted.

The overall objective of the pilot project is to test a service option that pays family or community caregivers to provide community and home-based supports to seniors and persons with disabilities so they can stay in their own homes as long as possible.

It will take place from fiscal year 2019/2020 to fiscal year 2021/2022, and the lessons learned will be used to guide a territory-wide rollout.

Abernethy noted that staff from the department will work with local health authority staff to reach out to clients to see if they would like to participate in the pilot project. The department is also seeking to partner with a community organization to deliver the support option to elders and persons with disabilities.

“We are reaching out to see if the Town of Hay River would be interested in participating in the pilot project,” Abernethy wrote.

At town council’s Aug. 6 meeting, Coun. Brian Willows said he followed up on the letter from the minister about the pilot project.

“They are looking for someone to administer the program for them,” he said. “Ideally, the town or an aboriginal organization going forward.”

Along with being a councillor, Willows is the public administrator of the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority.

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