The Auditor General’s Special Report on Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres’ (CCACs) continues to thrust home and community care into the spotlight. While this much anticipated report points out some pretty big challenges and problems within our system, it also identifies opportunities for improvement. So regardless of what anyone may feel about some of the fine print, this ongoing attention on home health care is a welcome and needed change.
Welcome because as most home care workers, clients and their families will tell you, home is exactly where a majority of us want to live, recover and die. It’s needed because—as our population ages and demand grows for medical support to address increasingly complex and chronic health issues—home care offers a financially pragmatic, holistic and client-centred way forward.
As the report so adeptly points out, however, we have a ways to go before we get there. Systemic changes must happen. More choice and control need to be put in the hands of individuals and families and, ultimately, more direct service provided to those in need.
We know that home care’s piece of the “health care pie” has grown. But at five per cent it’s still a relatively minor player in the system and needs to expand to effectively handle the rapidly increasing need.
Though it’s easy to fixate on the dollars and cents, the call for consistent and equitable care is the real “meat” in this report. Creating a truly integrated, seamless system is possible. But to arrive there service provider organizations like VHA, government, hospitals, CCACs and other health care players must set aside our own egos, agendas and biases to keep the needs and preferences of clients and caregivers at the centre of our work.
We applaud the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) and CCAC’s support of the recommendations. It shows an openness and willingness to listen that are critical to moving changes—including implementation of the Patients First 10-step roadmap— forward quickly. Together, we need to build on this momentum and commit to “getting it right:” ensuring we provide the right care, at the right time and in the right place for those who need it.
CEO and President
VHA Home HealthCare