It’s hard to believe we’re already into the month of September with a new school year underway and the signs of a new season all around us. September is also the time when HNHB LHIN formally celebrates and recognizes the vital role of unpaid caregivers within our health care system.
On September 12, we hosted the first of four annual Heroes in the Home caregiver recognition events, honouring 36 unpaid caregivers who were nominated from across the Niagara region. Heroes in the Home celebrates caregivers who support and care for their loved ones at home and in the community so they can live fulfilling lives, regardless of limitations such as disability or, illness.
The event included heartwarming stories of caregivers and their loved-ones. This was my first Heroes in the Home event. It was an inspiring experience to witness first-hand the love, compassion and dedication of people within our LHIN.
Among the caregivers honoured was Dino Dini, who took time off work so that he could care for his wife Kim and fulfill her wish to stay at home throughout her cancer illness. For more than a year, from her diagnosis until her peaceful passing in June of this year, Dino stayed by Kim’s side.
Dino’s energy, devotion and attention to detail was second to none. He went to great lengths to make certain his beloved wife was well supported and comfortable, and felt loved and spoiled every minute of each day. Dino’s tireless round the clock efforts helped to keep up Kim’s spirits. To be the best caregiver, he researched and learned everything he could about Kim’s condition along with the treatments, medications and the care she would need. He organized schedules for family and caregivers when needed and advocated boldly on Kim’s behalf with his insurance company to ensure she would receive the best provisions and care possible.
Dino went above and beyond to provide comfort and happiness to his wife, including moving her favourite bird feeders close to her window and installing non-glare film on the glass, so she could see her lovely birds each day.
We are pleased to honour and thank caregivers like Dino, recognizing their selfless dedication in caring for family members, friends and neighbours. Informal caregivers are an important partner and integral part of our health care system, making a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of people across our LHIN every day. Statistics Canada estimates that approximately 3.3 million unpaid caregivers provide support to their loved ones in Ontario alone, providing a value of more than $31 billion annually in the health care sector. Without these exceptional people, we couldn’t do what we do across the health care system.
In addition to the recent event in Niagara, HNHB LHIN will be hosting three additional Heroes in the Home events in Brant, Hamilton-Burlington and Haldimand-Norfolk in October and November.
While nominations for our 2017 Heroes in the Home are now closed, Heroes nominations are open and accepted all year. Anyone can nominate a caregiver provided the individual either cares for someone living within the HNHB LHIN or resides within the HNHB LHIN and provide care to someone living anywhere in Ontario. If you’d like to nominate an unpaid caregiver to be recognized as a 2018 Hero in the Home, please follow the link below.
Patient and Family Advisory Committee
There was an incredible response to our call for applications to our Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply. Successful applicants have been notified and the first PFAC meeting took place Thursday, September 14. I’ll be sharing more information about the PFAC in next month’s blog and will also introduce the committee members.
In order to ensure the voices of Indigenous Peoples are represented on the Patient and Family Advisory Committee, we are currently seeking applicants from First Nations, Inuit and Métis community members within the LHIN. If you, or someone you know is interested, please get in touch with Laura Botelho (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kate MacNeil (email@example.com) to learn more.
Finally, a note of thanks to the all those from our LHIN who submitted applications for this year’s Minister’s Medal including four in the team-based category, one in the individual provider category and one in the patient, family and caregiver category. An external selection committee assembled by the ministry will review the applications and winners will be officially recognized on October 24 at Health Quality Transformation 2017, an annual event hosted by Health Quality Ontario (HQO).
The HNHB LHIN wishes the best of luck to all of our team and individual applicants!
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.