News Release: May 28, 2013
Kathleen Wynne visited Peggy and Norman Patterson, who are able to be at home together thanks to the South West CCAC’s innovative Home First approach.
Peggy and Norman Patterson seemed remarkably relaxed as they played host to Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, and the phalanx of reporters who filled their living room last Friday morning.
They calmly told their story to the Premier. Peggy had a stroke two years ago and is legally blind. Her husband Norman has Parkinson’s disease. Last year he went to hospital for knee replacement surgery and had a bad drug reaction. He would have waited in hospital for a place in a long-term care home, if it hadn’t been for the Home First approach. Home First is a philosophy that focuses all health professionals on getting complex patients home from hospital before considering any other options.
Thanks to the work of the CCAC and its hospital and community partners, Norman was able to return home with 24-hour care for several weeks. "We call ourselves the ‘catcher’s mitts,’" said South West CCAC Care Coordinator Heather McCallum. "We had an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a nurse waiting for Norman when he got home, and we even brought in a big mechanical lift."
Since then, Norman has made a remarkable recovery. He’s now able to take walks in the neighbourhood, often accompanied by Peggy in an electric wheelchair, their neighbourhood caregiver Moe, and their two dogs and a cat. Two days a week, he attends an Adult Day Program at McCormick Home. "It took a village to get us home," says Peggy. "It’s a partnership and it works very well. It just shows what a village can do!"
Clearly moved by their story, the Premier said it highlighted the importance of her government’s ongoing investments in home and community care. "We have an aging demographic in Ontario. In order to provide the best care for people who want to be in their homes, we have to change the system," she said. "And that’s what we’re doing. In addition to the quality of life that is so much enhanced for people like Norman and Peggy, this is also the most economical way for us to deliver health care. It is by far and away the more rational option for the health care system to pay for care at home than to keep people in very expensive acute or long-term care beds."
Wynne noted that the CCAC is a "fundamental part of the partnership" that cares for the Pattersons and thousands of others at home. She noted that the recent budget provides an additional $260 million for home and community care to enhance programs like Home First and make it available to more people. "For everyone concerned, it is the better option to keep people at home," she said, calling the commitment to home care "the cornerstone aspect of helping people in their day-to-day lives."
The South West CCAC serves more than 60,000 people every year, and each month helps more than 1,600 patients get home from hospital. In the South West, 93% of patients receive their first CCAC visit within five days of getting home from hospital, and 94% of patients are satisfied or very satisfied with the care they receive. As a result of the Home First approach, just 8.9% of patients are waiting in hospitals in the South West for a place in a long-term care home. That’s one of the lowest percentages in Ontario and there are fewer than 50% of the people waiting now than before the Home First approach was launched 18 months ago.
South West CCAC CEO Sandra Coleman believes this may have been the first time ever a Premier visited CCAC clients in their home. "We were delighted that Premier Wynne could make this visit here in the South West," she said. "We’re so honoured to be able to work with our LHIN, hospital and community partners to help people return home and stay there, where they want to be. It’s stories like that of the Pattersons that really bring home the value of our work."
Watch highlights of the Premier's visit here