Thursday, March 12th, saw the release of Bringing Care Home, the Report of the Expert Group on Home & Community Care, chaired by Dr. Gail Donner. The panel did extensive consultations last fall with patients and their families, and received submissions from a variety of care providers and stakeholders, including the North East CCAC and many of our health system partners. I see this report as a real opportunity to strengthen home and community care, which Minister Hoskins has already recognized as a cornerstone of Ontario's health system. While we are certainly not the sole provider, many of the report's recommendations mirror initiatives that are already underway in the North East.
For example, the report recommends that health care providers should not only consider the patient and their caregivers when developing care plans, but family, friends, neighbours or others who may be involved in their care as well. We agree. Many of our CCAC Care Coordinators work alongside multidisciplinary teams in hospitals and family health teams to ensure that patients and family members are actively engaged in making decisions about their care needs.
The report states that seven hours of care by informal caregivers is provided for every two hours of formal care, and discusses how the system can better support these volunteers through education, training and awareness of the public and private resources available to assist them. The North East CCAC recognizes and acknowledges the efforts of informal caregivers through our Heroes in the Home program, and will continue to advocate for greater resources to support the health and well-being of both patients and their caregivers.
For me, one of the report's highlights was this statement: "The role of the care coordinator is critical to ensuring client and family centred care." We know that the experience and expertise needed to coordinate and deliver care in the home and community lies within Community Care Access Centres. The report recognizes that CCACs must be resourced properly in order to take on the many new roles it has been asked to accept.
The recommendations in the report come as no surprise – all system partners understand that there is much work to be done if we truly want a well-coordinated, patient-centred system, and I believe CCACs have a key role to play in addressing many of these recommendations with the ultimate goal of providing patients and families with the care they need, at the right time and in the right place.
We may not be able to change the system in a day, but small steps can often lead to great strides.
Richard Joly, CEO
North East CCAC