January 12, 2022
As we face the COVID-19 Omicron variant together
As we manage Omicron – a new virulent phase of the COVID-19 pandemic – we want you to know that Home and Community Care Support Services is here to support you, whether you’re a health care partner, patient or family member.
As a pillar of the health care system, Home and Community Care Support Services is doing its part by supporting hospitals from being overwhelmed, connecting people to care so that they can weather this from home, and sharing our collective expertise to support other health care partners in need of our help.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise, that like the rest of the province, Home and Community Care Support Services has also been impacted by this latest variant. However, as CEO I remain hopeful despite the challenges we are collectively facing. This hope stems from the dedication and compassion I’ve witnessed in our staff and our partners, and in our provincial efforts to vaccinate everyone who is eligible.
This impact to health human resources means that in some of our geographies we are working with our service providers to prioritize new patients and patient care generally – and especially ensuring that the most complex patients receive the care they need. Some new patients with lower care needs may face a wait for personal support workers, nurses and other health professional to become available to provide care, as we concentrate on those most at risk. To ensure patients continue to receive the care they need, we are collaborating with partners on ways to improve recruitment and retention of health care workers, encouraging people to come back to the profession, and new graduates to join us in this meaningful work.
To protect patients and our staff, when possible we are offering virtual visits to our patients. In some areas, we are helping patients isolate with COVID-19 at home, providing remote patient monitoring tools in conjunction with other health partners. In addition, our Telehomecare program continues to provide remote monitoring equipment and coaching for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and heart failure to help them learn how to self-manage their symptoms. While we have staff calling in sick, thanks to remote work, many are able to isolate and, if their symptoms are mild, continue to work from home.
Not all staff are working in the virtual world — in person care also continues. Our care coordinators are in hospitals at patient bedsides. They are there to assess the needs of patients and connect them to services in the community so that they can be discharged knowing they have supports when they return home. Other team members are in patients’ homes preventing unnecessary visits to hospital through care and supports at home, guiding patients and families through those final stages of their palliative care journey, or helping to find placement for their loved ones in long-term care.
As so many across the health care system are doing, many of our staff are going above and beyond their normal work hours. Some are volunteering outside of their scheduled shifts to help local public health units with vaccination clinics. Others have put their hands up for deployment should their skills be needed by Telehealth, assessment centres, or congregate settings in outbreak.
I’m hopeful. I know our staff are resilient and continue to bring empathy to their work – they are up to this latest challenge. I also know our partners are equally dedicated. We will get through this together. And we will continue to help everyone be healthier at home through connected, accessible, patient-centred care.
Thank you for your patience with all of us across the health care system as we each navigate this next wave of COVID-19.
Sincerely, Cynthia Martineau
CEO, Home and Community Care Support Services
SOME KEY FIGURES:
- Home and Community Care Support Services collectively served approximately 674,000 patients across the province in 2020.
- Every year, 26,500 patients move to long-term care.
- Every month, care coordinators have 400,000 active patients on their caseloads.
- Every day, Home and Community Care Support Services delivers approximately:
- 22,000 nursing visits
- 3,000 therapy visits
- 85,000 personal support worker visits