Changes to Medication Distribution System for Personal Care Home Residents

3 December 2020

December 1, 2020

Riverview Health Centre and the WRHA’s Pharmacy Program determined earlier this year that the medication distribution system for residents in our licensed personal care home beds would be changing, to align with the standard of pharmacy services in place for PCH beds across Manitoba. The previous medication distribution model at Riverview Health Centre did not align with the majority of PCH beds provincially.

As a result, PCH beds at Riverview Health Centre will convert to a multi-dose pouch packaging, external pharmacy provider. All other PCHs in Winnipeg already receive their pharmacy services through this provider.  This planned change is aligned with the preferred drug distribution model for the long-term care population in Manitoba. The model is designed to reduce nurse medication pass time and improve medication safety.

In 2018, the majority of PCHs in the province transitioned to a multi-dose pouch packaging service. Once the change has been implemented at DLC and RHC, all Winnipeg PCHs will have transitioned to this standardized model for drug distribution.  

There will be no disruption of pharmacy services to residents during this transition. The on-site pharmacy at RHC will remain open, and will continue to provide service to the non-PCH beds at each facility. The change affects only our PCH beds.

Coverage of residents’ medications will be transitioned to the Provincial PCH Drug Benefit List, which is consistent with the medication coverage in the other personal care homes in Manitoba.  In preparation, residents currently prescribed products where coverage will change during the transition have been identified.  The health care teams have had conversations with residents and/or their families to discuss these changes and their options, such as alternative treatments, private insurance or personal payment. 

Some prescription medications require special application for exception drug status (EDS) with Manitoba Pharmacare. Prescribers and pharmacists at RHC are currently working on submitting these applications. 

Herbal products were reviewed as per the WRHA policy Use of Natural Health Products by Residents in PCH/LTC.  Personal care/hygiene items – including things like over-the-counter medications and select creams and ointments – are provided based on the Manitoba Health Insured and Non-Insured Personal Care Services for PCH Residents policy and supply of some items will be transitioned to site Materials Management departments. 

This pharmacy transition has provided the opportunity to align medication coverage with these provincial and regional policies to provide equity across the province with respect to medication coverage for PCH residents.

                Thank you,

                RHC Senior Leadership Team