June/July 2017

With all that has been happening with the HNHB CCAC to HNHB LHIN transition on May 10 (more on that below), it has been a busy few months. While it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees, two recent awards have served as a nice reminder of the reason we are here and the positive effects our work is having on patients and caregivers.

On June 15, Jennifer Vansickle, Patient Care Manager, was the recipient of the Leadership Award at the Health Shared Services Ontario (HSSO) 2017 Achieving Excellence Together conference. This is a tremendous honour for Jennifer, who has championed a number of initiatives for HNHB LHIN including the creation of a personal and caregiver support tool – the Caregiver Distress Index. This new assessment tool helps care coordinators identify people who may benefit from additional support and services to help them reduce stress associated with caregiving roles. Patients and families are able to choose how they want to use personal support and can opt to bundle their personal support hours to best suit their needs and lifestyle.

I would also like to acknowledge other LHIN staff, including the Burlington-Niagara North East Health Link Project, Pam Fabi, and our Medical Assistance in Dying Internal Resource Working Group, who were also nominated for awards. Congratulations and thank you for all that you do for the patients and families we serve.

I am also pleased to announce that earlier in June, the LHIN’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) Connect program was named the 2017 Service Award for Geriatric Excellence (SAGE) team winner. The SAGE awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations across southern Ontario, who are committed to providing the highest quality care to older adults to ensure they can age with optimal health, independence and dignity.

BSO Connect, hosted through the HNHB LHIN’s Information and Referral department, provides one point of entry for individuals, caregivers, health service providers and other agencies to access supports and services for older adults with age-related cognitive impairments and responsive behaviors that impact their daily functioning. BSO Connect team members are trained to effectively identify individuals’ needs and connect them with the appropriate services in the community.

BSO Connect is more than just a place to call for information – team members serve as person-centred, system navigators who have relevant expertise and knowledge. In 2015-16 over 1,120 people reached out to BSO Connect for assistance, each of whom were linked with one or more longer-term supports. Dina’s story below highlights the value of the program and how it can help individuals and their families.

Dina’s Story

A phone conversation with her mother left Dina concerned for the well-being of her parents. Due to dementia, Dina’s father was exhibiting physical and verbal responsive behaviours, confusion, paranoia, and was reluctant to accept medication and care. Her subsequent call to the BSO Connect team would set in motion a person-centred and coordinated plan that met the family’s needs.

The BSO Connect team member made Dina feel comfortable so she could fully explain her parents’ situation and express her concerns. Based on an understanding of the situation, the BSO Connect team member determined that her father’s behaviour posed a risk to both his own and his wife’s safety. Together, they decided Dina’s parents would benefit from the involvement of the BSO Community Outreach Team (which has expertise in caring for people with dementia and responsive behaviours) and the local Seniors’ Support Police Officer. To ensure their safety at home, the BSO Connect team member arranged a prompt home visit by a Care Coordinator.

Dina received a phone call from the BSO Connect team member confirming the appropriate supports were in place and also received a package including information about additional supports and services available. To prevent Dina from having to repeat her story, the team member also explained the situation and provided thorough background information to the Outreach Team, Police Officer and Care Coordinator. Dina was comfortable with her parents’ care plan, clearly understood the next steps and felt reassured in knowing supports were in place to help her parents at home.

Post-Transition Re-Cap

We made it! On May 10, the HNHB CCAC to HNHB LHIN transition took place and I am proud to say there were no service interruptions and patient care continued seamlessly over the weeks that followed.

Since February 2015, when the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, we had the formidable task of merging what would appear to be two very different organizations; though as different as they were, each was focused on providing the best access to health services for patients, caregivers and families.

That commitment to putting patients first has driven our transition success and will ensure our continued focus during our continued transformation. When you think of the number of people involved, the communities we touch and the hours of planning and detail that went into a transition of this magnitude, that’s really a wonderful outcome.

To provide some context on the scope of home and community care across the LHIN, in 2015-16:
  • 83,789 patients received care and services
  • 5,070,979 patient visits made by contracted providers 
  • 20,000+ individuals received support through centralized information and referral centre
  • 9,400+ patients received health support and services in schools
  • 13,000+ patients received care in 11 Nursing Care Centres
  • 3,250+ patients received assistance for placement in long-term care homes
  • 4,600+ patients received hospice palliative/end-of-life care

As you can see, ensuring the continuity of patient care and experience was not just a priority, it was essential.

This has been about the patients and families we serve and deep commitment that staff have to ensuring they are receiving the best care available. I want to extend my sincere thanks to all people involved, from the many who are new to the LHIN to those whom I have worked alongside for many years. Your hard work, dedication and support during this exciting time of change and renewal is truly appreciated and a great source of pride.

Moving forward, as a single organization with a continued focus on patients, families and caregivers, we now shift our attention to health system transformation. I am confident our team, together with our health system partners, will create a health care system where people have timely access to high quality care, when and where they need it.

If you or your organization would like to be featured in a future blog or share a patient story in one of our Voices in the Community videos you can reach us through our office, or if you’re on social media via our Twitter handle -@HNHB_LHINgage. Your feedback and questions are always welcome.