The Manitoba Ostomy Program


On August 30th, 1972, the Winnipeg Ostomy Association (WOA) Inc. was formed. The Manitoba Ostomy Program (MOP) commenced operation in July, 1974. This was directly due to the efforts of the WOA. It is unique in North America and strongly reflects the dedication of past Winnipeg Ostomy Association members!

The WOA’s next priority was to obtain the services of an Enterostomal Therapist for Manitoba ostomates. The WOA lobbied strongly and Mrs. Genevieve Thompson, E.T. was hired by the St. Boniface Hospital in 1974.

At the present time there are eight ET’s working in Manitoba, three for the MOP (2 full-time in Winnipeg and one part-time in Brandon) and the other five are at the Health Sciences Center and the St. Boniface Hospital.

The recent government deficit problems have put much pressure on Health Care in Manitoba and the WOA has had to work very hard over recent years to keep the Manitoba Ostomy Program intact. We have succeeded, so far,and will continue to work hard on behalf of Manitoba ostomates!

Program Details

The Manitoba Ostomy Program is now administered by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and funded by Manitoba Health. It is comprised of two major components: Enterostomal (ET) Nursing and the provision of certain ostomy products.

The ET nurses were working for the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), but effective February 15, 2001, they are directly under the WRHA. Their phone numbers are: Gay Hordienko, 940-3267 and Mary Robertson, 940-3268. They are located at 8 Lion’s Place, 610 Portage Ave. Helen Rankin, is located in Brandon and works for the Brandon Regional Health Authority. She can be reached at 204-578-4205.

There are currently between 3.000 and 3,500 persons currently registered with the MOP (Manitoba has a population of approximately 1,150,000). This has been increasing since 1997, when it was about 2,000. At least 900 visits and an additional 2,000 consultations are completed annually by the 1.6 ET Nurses. Emphasis is placed on a consultative role rather than direct nursing care on an ongoing basis. Consultation is available to all hospitals within the province, other than the St. Boniface and the Health Sciences Centre, which have their own ET’s, also to personal care home, clinic, and home settings. Post-hospital followup is the responsibility of the program ET’s with the exception of those individuals who return to the St.Boniface General Hospital. Preoperative home and hospital visits are an increasing focus for these nurses.

Eligibility is based on the following criteria: persons who are residents of Manitoba; and are registered with Manitoba Health Services Commission; and have lost the normal function of the digestive or urinary system necessitating ostomy or fistula management; or have drainage from the respiratory or lymphatic system in a quantity necessitating use of an ostomy appliance.

From the beginning of the Manitoba Ostomy Program in July of 1974 until July of 1993 ostomy supplies were free to Manitobans registered with the MOP. As of July 1, 1993, Manitoba ostomates began paying a co-payment for their supplies. The MOP covered half of the first $600 of the cost of ostomy supplies and everything over that $600 mark each fiscal year. Therefore Manitoba ostomates did not pay more than $300 per year for their supplies. In September, 2004 the Manitoba Government announced that ostomy supplies would again be free. This would be retroactive to April 1, 2004. This action followed up on an election promise that the NDP had made during the 2003 election campaign.

Registering and Ordering Supplies

Manitobans register with the MOP through their E.T. nurse shortly after surgery. Once registered, the ostomate phones his ostomy supply order to the Health Sciences Center (HSC) Materials Handling at 926-6080 or 1-877-477-4773. Their hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. The order is then shipped out to the client by mail or courier or can be picked up at HSC Materials Handling which is located at 59 Pearl St., in Winnipeg, between 8:00 am and 11:00 pm.

A person is registered with the program either at the time of hospital discharge or by contacting an ET Nurse. Once an assessment by an ET Nurse has been completed, decisions are made regarding the type and quantity of supplies. Products then may be ordered on a bi-monthly basis. If a new item is requested, an ET Nurse must order the item the first time to monitor the quantity and combination of supplies being used. Clients who are noted to be using large quantities of supplies are reassessed by the program ET Nurse.

Efforts are taken to avoid duplicating services already available to the client. For example, if a person is being seen by a VON or Home Care Nurse, then contact is made with this primary caregiver to review their assessment and determine if ET services are required. Registrants are encouraged to initiate contact with the program’s ET if they are experiencing questions or concerns. Rural clinics are held in seven locations throughout the province at various intervals to meet with clients on an individual basis, complete hospital visits, conduct staff inservice sessions and attend rural UOA chapter meetings. The Brandon-based E.T. serves the Brandon/Dauphin region. Health professionals are contacted annually in writing to notify them about the clinic dates and locations, encourage their referral of clients as needed and remind them of the availability of staff development resources.

Products trials are conducted with the hospital-based ET’s on an ongoing basis when items are deemed as cost-effective alternatives. Hospital supplies are reviewed upon request and suggestions are forwarded; a priority in this regard is the use of products in hospital that are available per MOP to the client once home, which promotes continuity in terms of learning. It has been demonstrated that the purchase of supplies on a volume basis is more cost efficient per person, when compared to retail or reimbursement systems.

A Multi-level Cooperative Program

The Manitoba Ostomy Product Working Group is where the Winnipeg Ostomy Association has direct input into the Manitoba Ostomy Program. In the group are representatives of Manitoba Health, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Health Sciences Center (HSC) Materials Handling, Enterostomal Nursing, Government Services Purchasing Department and the Winnipeg Ostomy Association. This group and a sub-committee oversee the contracting of ostomy products and monitors the satisfaction and compliance of clients of the MOP.

On September 1, 2005, the Ostomy Supply Distribution Center moved from the Materials Distribution Center on St. James Street in Winnipeg to a new location at 59 Pearl Street, which is part of the Health Sciences Center (HSC) complex. Editor, Dave Page, published a special edition of Inside Out in July, 2005 to inform people with ostomies in Manitoba of the impending change. See below for links to this special issue.

Current News

Effective September 11, 2007 the Manitoba Ostomy Program Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Office will be moving to 845 Regent Avenue in Winnipeg. The phone contact numbers for the ET nurses will remain 938-5757 or 938-5758. The Brandon ET nurse and rural clinics are not affected by this change and the Ostomy Supply Depot will remain unchanged at its present location at 59 Pearl St.


Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: