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Home First Philosophy

Harold and Barbara Willis​The Home First philosophy, which applies to all patients in hospital, supports an inter-disciplinary approach to earlier discharge planning. Home First includes early engagement of patients and families in the discharge process by the inter-professional team, including the Central East LHIN Home and Community Care and Community Support Services (CSS). Home First is a philosophy that promotes safe and timely care, services and supports to meet healthcare needs of patients and families in the most appropriate setting - it applies to all patients. It is a partnership among Central East LHIN, Hospitals, Home and Community Care and Community Support Services. It is also a system of people, processes and services to facilitate timely discharge from hospital following an acute care stay.

Home means wherever the patient came from. "Home" should be the first destination that is considered for any patient's discharge. Even, if the ultimate destination is not the patient's current home, it will be their first stop from the hospital. The benefits to patients include being in their own home where they want to be and the longer maintenance of their health, independence and well-being. As well, there is a reduced risk for hospital-acquired illness. We wanted to adopt a process that allowed patients and families the opportunity to make life changing decisions related to future living accommodations in the comfort of their own home.

According to the Home First philosophy, "every patient admitted to the hospital should expect to be discharged home at the end of the acute period of care." Any decisions about major changes in lifestyle should be made from home, not from hospital. The Central East Home and Community Care Coordinator is the 'destination determiner' and 'system navigator' for all patients in need of community services on discharge.

What services are offered?

Services can include intensive case management, nursing, personal support, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, social work, dietetics, equipment and supplies.

What are the main benefits for patients and families?

  • Clients can recuperate in a familiar environment, reducing the risk of losing strength from lack of mobility while remaining in hospital.
  • There is no cost for eligible services provided through the LHIN.
  • Seniors have more time to improve their health status prior to making a major decision about their future care needs.

What are the main benefits for the health system?

  • The Home First program, by helping people get better at home, relieves pressures on hospitals. For example, more beds are made available for patients who require surgery.
  • Preventing premature admission to long-term care homes results in greater access to these beds for individuals who require a more intensive level of care.

When appropriately managed, care in the home can moderate the demand for more costly health-care options while maintaining a person's independence.