As we mentioned in an earlier post, ALS Canada is in the midst of making some improvements to our service offering with the goal of strengthening the support we offer to people and families living with ALS in Ontario. In mid-July, we shared some of the enhancements being made to our equipment program. Another important area we are addressing is the one-on-one support that people receive from our Regional Managers.

ALS Canada Regional Managers live and work in different communities across the province. They offer home visits to discuss individual and family needs, provide information and education, facilitate support groups, and assist with connecting people and families living with ALS to other healthcare providers and community supports. In a survey we conducted last year, people who use ALS Canada’s services told us they highly value the support they receive from Regional Managers – but wanted more frequent touchpoints with them.

As a charitable organization with a limited funds that are provided entirely by donors, we carefully considered how we might be able to offer people more frequent connections with an ALS Canada Regional Manager. Previously, eight Regional Managers collectively served more than 800 people in Ontario living with ALS, their families and caregivers. This resulted in Regional Managers serving and supporting large numbers of people across significant distances, and therefore spending a considerable amount of time on the road between appointments.

Starting this spring, thanks to Ice Bucket Challenge donations we adjusted the geographic area that each Regional Manager covers, and made them smaller. We also hired one additional full-time Regional Manager, as well as one part-time Regional Manager and plan to add another part-time Regional Manager in the next few months. This means that each Regional Manager will now work with a smaller number of people and families living with ALS within a more concentrated geographic area. As a result, people who receive support from ALS Canada can expect more frequent, in-person support than they were previously receiving. In the next few months, we will also introduce new technology to allow Regional Managers to have secure video sessions using electronic devices when weather or other situations prevent an in-person visit.

If you receive support from ALS Canada and are affected by these changes, your current Regional Manager will inform you well before the transition occurs, and will introduce you to your new Regional Manager.

We will continue to try this new system for a year to evaluate how effective these changes are for both the community we serve and our staff, and allow us to understand the longer-term costs involved with offering increased support, so we can fundraise accordingly.

Already, we are pleased to see how these changes are benefiting people living with ALS. “With the changes, I now receive plenty of support from ALS Canada,” says William. “My previous Regional Manager was very helpful, but she had a lot on her plate. Now I am able to speak to someone more frequently. Plus, the two of them have made the transition easy and ensured I had all of the support I needed.”

Additional improvements are coming that respond to your feedback about ALS Canada support groups. Please continue to read this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date.

Within Ontario, ALS Canada has a role similar to that of the provincial ALS societies providing services and support to help meet the needs of people living with ALS.

 

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