Home and community sector must be fully connected with other care providers
TORONTO, June 1, 2016 – Today, Health Quality Ontario released a new report, Connecting the Dots for Patients: Family Doctors’ Views on Coordinating Patient Care in Ontario’s Health System. It rightly points out that smooth coordination between all parts of the health system is necessary to reduce duplication, ensure consistency and quality of service, and improve the experiences of patients and their caregivers.
Among the provinces and countries surveyed, Ontario has one of the lowest reported percentages of family doctor communication with home care services. Family doctors also report challenges coordinating care with social services and other community providers.
As the membership association representing Ontario’s not-for-profit home care and community support service providers, OCSA works every day to support the spread of innovative care co-ordination processes and technologies across the province. We recognize that while effective solutions have been put in place in many communities, they are not consistently available across the province. The most significant barrier our members report in this effort is insufficient funding for the staffing and IT resources required to effectively communicate and share data with other care providers, including primary care and hospitals.
Improving care co-ordination is one of the goals established in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, and OCSA and our members are currently engaged in this work at both advisory and implementation tables. This work dovetails with suggestions in the Ministry’s 2015 Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Care in Ontario.
Though significant attention is paid to home care in the report, community support services such as respite care, adult day programs, Meals on Wheels and transportation services are not explicitly mentioned. It is important that family doctors have a full understanding of these supports, so that they can refer patients appropriately. The report acknowledges that the data available does not necessarily reflect the experiences of all care providers across Ontario, and it is our hope that subsequent work will be able to include these services more fully.
“Our thanks to Health Quality Ontario for drawing attention to this important issue,” says Deborah Simon, OCSA CEO. “The challenges of care coordination have long been a source of frustration for home care and community support agencies and their clients and caregivers. We’re eager to work with HQO, the Ontario government, and partners across the province to tackle the problem.”
Across the province each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is growing. The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) champions a strong, sustainable home and community support sector for all Ontarians. Our not-for-profit, community-based member organizations provide a wide variety of health and wellness services which help a full range of clients, including seniors and people with disabilities, remain independent in their own homes and communities. These compassionate and cost-effective services improve quality of life and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. They are the key to a sustainable health care system for Ontario. For more information, visit www.ocsa.on.ca.
For more information please contact:
Communications & Research Coordinator
Ontario Community Support Association
416-256-3010 x- 242