Government policies and programmes change and evolve. For example, Ontario’s health services are in flux. Changes to health care policy directly affect in-home care and community support services – the services senior citizens need and rely on to age safely and productively in their homes and communities.
The end goal of change seems clear – improved care and services. What’s less clear is the roadmap for how we will get there. To influence direction and outcomes, we need to understand. To understand, we need to question.
To highlight questions and spark discussion, Care Watch is issuing short bulletins on the evolving programs and services of particular concern to seniors – particularly in-home care and community support services.
Each bulletin has questions that need answers. Don’t be hesitant to ask them and to add some of your own. Please also feel free to send your questions and comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage you to learn about the issues and to question your political leaders and other decision makers. When answers are vague, sparse, or unclear, ask again. You need and deserve straightforward information.
Restructuring Health Services: It’s a Matter of Principle!
Ontario has announced the first health teams to be fully developed and implemented. So far, hospitals are taking the lead in creating the teams. Each team will work within what government calls a “low rules environment” to identify and offer services for everyone residing whithn their designated catchment area. Eventually, funding for all services will be centralized within the teams. We don’t yet know what the rules are and how they will affect home and community care. Are the resources for home care and community support services protected or could they be redirected to bolster underfunded hospital budgets?
Currently, individuals referred directly from the community, and not from a hospital, account for 85% of home care visits. Could this change? How will health teams improve services for seniors?
What can you do? Seniors are encouraged to participate in discussions regarding the restructuring of Ontario’s health services. We need to ensure that, in the development of new Ontario Health Teams, home care and community support services are included in all teams as core services, and that the provision of such services reflect the principles outlined in the Canada Health Act.
Ontario Health Teams
Ontario has proposed replacing existing health service networks with 50 “Health Teams”. The process for establishing health teams is underway, but the selection and implementation criteria are not fully established, and the structure of health teams may vary depending on geography and the partnerships that are assembled. We need to understand more about how health teams will improve services and patient or client experience.