The North East CCAC recently partnered with McMaster University and the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR) to host a series of three forums called Citizen Health Panels, which sought the opinions of patients and families in setting priorities for home and community care in the North. The panels brought together 10-13 older adults and informal or family caregivers from all walks of life to share their ideas and experiences with home and community care, and discuss what they believe are the system's key challenges and most urgent needs.
Conducting this research presented an opportunity for everyone to learn from the views of others as the panel provided insight into some key questions:
- Are we providing the services people value most highly?
- Are we sensitive to the changing face of an aging population that is more comfortable with technology and may have different expectations around engagement by their health system?
- Are we ensuring we are respectful of the different cultures present in large numbers in the North (23% Francophone and 10% Aboriginal) in providing the care they require?
- Are we engaging patients, families and communities in a meaningful way?
- How do we provide equity of care for people in remote and rural communities?
- How can we ensure we are supporting unpaid caregivers?
Moving forward, this information will help inform the work of caregivers and system planners like the North East CCAC, hospitals, community support services, Health Links, the Local Aboriginal Health Committee, le Réseau du mieux-être francophone du Nord de l'Ontario, and the North East LHIN as they seek to coordinate resources and ensure the best possible quality of care for individuals with chronic and complex needs. These views will also be taken into account in setting new directions for current programs and planning for new initiatives to address the needs of our northern communities.
CRaNHR representatives will present the results of the three Citizen Health Panels to the North East CCAC's Board of Directors later this fall, which will assist in the development of the Board's 2016-2019 Strategic Plan.