HEALTH: Where Are We With Ontario Healthcare?

Early in the year, the Health Ministry announced the new strategy for Ontario and included information on the Ontario Health Agency and the formation of Ontario Health Teams (OHTs).  I am not going to repeat all of this information but would direct you to the following site and ask that, if interested, you subscribe directly to receive both information and invites to key webinars hosted by the Ministry.  We continue to move into parallel implementation with the existing healthcare services directed by the LHINs and annual business plans for healthcare in 2019-2020 fiscal year.  

Some Progress!

1.  Durham Ontario Health Team (OHT) Update:

As mentioned in my earlier note, the selection of the first 31 OHTs were requested to submit business plans for their communities and primarily focus on the “Year One” target populations.  The term “at maturity” is being used to identify plans that will follow to provide coverage for all patients and caregivers in the OHT’s geographic community.  As of October 9th, the  Durham OHT submitted a proposal to become one of the first OHTs in Ontario.  I am attaching a press release that went out last week and a Fact Sheet with regards to our progress and we will now wait for the Ministry evaluation and hopefully, a site visit to validate and move forward by year-end.

In addition to the initial 31 OHTs to be selected to submit plans, the next 41 are also “in development” to further define their offerings to their communities and the names and contacts are also listed in the address above.  The LHINs continue to execute their responsibility so there should be no or minimal disruption of services to the patient and caregiver as the parallel strategy gets rolling.  

2.  Additional Resources for Caregivers: 

We are pleased to share with you that the Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario (RGPO) and six project partners from across the province have launched new educational resources for caregivers who are providing care and support for seniors living with frailty.

Caregiving Strategies: Providing Care and Support for a Senior Living with Frailty was designed by caregivers and health care experts to improve the skills, knowledge, and confidence of family member and friend caregivers.

Caregiving Strategies consists of:

  • A FREE online course
  • The Caregiving Strategies Handbook
  • Tools, tips and links to great resources

To access Caregiving Strategies, please visit: www.rgps.on.ca/caregiving-strategies  (NOTE: this site will go live at the end of next week!)

3.  Ontario Digital Health Playbook:

As a key enabler for improved healthcare, the Ministry has released a very detailed Digital Health Playbook for OHTs and all Service Providers to use to guide their digital strategies. This can be located at:  http://health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/connectedcare/oht/docs/dig_health_playbook_en.pdf

For additional reading pleasure, I am attaching a recent article posted on October 7 from the Canadian Medical Association Journal on “patient portals” as this area is the most undeveloped aspect of our digital health strategies.

4.  On a Lighter Note…an Opportunity?

Recently, while golfing with a friend who lives in Ajax, I became aware of a group of not for profit organizations called 100 Women Who Care and 100 Men Who Care and it is a simple way of contributing to your local communities on a quarterly basis.  I attended the Ajax session last September as Pickering doesn’t have a group yet but was delighted by the process and the opportunity to help out locally.  A local Chapter of Youth Fusion received a cheque and last quarter’s award winner returned to give an update on their usage of their cheque (Grandview Kids). Here is how it works in Ajax: 

 Ajax 100 Men Who Care: https://100menajax.ca/

Most important is that this is a world happening and take a peak into your local area to see if there is a local chapter you may be interested in and, for all those on this note as Service Providers, take a look at the grant recipients on the many sites and know that community members will sponsor you into a session for a local grant!  https://www.100whocarealliance.org/about-us/list-of-chapters/canada/

So, why my headline?  We, along with the whole healthcare industry seem to be rolling along at various levels but few of us have seen any fully supported long term plan for “at maturity”.  As a patient and caregiver advocate, it is both frustrating and difficult to leverage the voice that has been built up and many have simply, gone away.  My message to the Ministry and the Agency is to reach out to the hundreds of dedicated patient and caregiver advisors and use this resource to build a better system.

Randy Filinski
Pickering Resident and Healthcare Advocate

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