How can we avoid interruption/gap in healthcare coverage when relocating an elderly parent from Manitoba to British Columbia who has medical issues and taking multiple medications?

The short answer is - you can't avoid interruption when a senior is depending on provincially-provided senior care services, so here are some things to investigate right now:

- If your parent is now using senior services such as care in Manitoba, enlist their caseworker's help to liaise ASAP with their counterpart in BC to transfer services. If they don't know whom to contact,  check BC's ministry of health's 'services for seniors' to identify the service location that would apply to your parent, based on what their BC address will be.

- Even with the best efforts of both caseworkers, prepare to provide care privately, either yourselves or using the help of an agency - the case worker in BC may have an agency or two to recommend. 

- Inquire at your pharmacy about the protocol for transferring prescriptions from Manitoba to BC - usually, the pharmacy can do so, provided they receive an original prescription, so a visit to your parent's doctor may be needed before they leave.

- If your parent will be moving to a retirement residence, they will be able to use the house physician. If not, you may have a challenge finding them a doctor, so make inquiries at your doctor's office as to whether they are accepting new patients (seniors, specifically) and if not, where you could be referred.

- In terms of health insurance, there is usually a 3-month residency requirement before you can apply for provincial insurance. Medical services may be covered by Manitoba insurance during that time but contact the ministry of health for both provinces as soon as possible to be sure. Each case is different so be sure you review things thoroughly before your parent departs.

Looks like you'll be busy! Best of luck with your parent's move!

Pat M. Irwin, BA, AICB, CPCA 

President, ElderCareCanada 

Professor, Distance Learning, Centennial College