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Bringing Care Home: Summary of Expert Group's Recommendations

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Bringing Care Home: Summary of Expert Group's Recommendations

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

In September 2014, Ontario convened an expert group, which was led by chair Dr. Gail Donner and included prominent health care practitioners Cathy Fooks, Joe McReynolds, Dr. Samir Sinha, Dr. Kevin Smith, and patient advocate Donna Thomson.

The expert group's recommendations are presented in its report Bringing Care Home.

The report marks a significant milestone in shaping the direction of home care in Ontario. It will play a key role as the government works to improve patient and family-centred care at home and in the community, as well as to support a system of care that is accountable and sustainable.

Through consultations with patients, caregivers and health care providers, the expert group developed recommendations to:

  • Ensure service delivery is more consistent across Ontario to promote equal access to services and quality home and community care in all communities.
  • Ensure provincial funding for services and investments in home and community care is consistent across the province to improve transparency and maximize funds available for patient care.
  • Foster innovation and new approaches to care in order to improve patient experience, quality, choice and value for money.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Client- and family-centred care: Consider the patient and their caregivers as the client when developing care plans to address the needs of the patient, as well as their family, friends, neighbours or others that may be involved in giving care.
  • Support for family caregivers: Recognize the importance of supporting caregivers through respite services; ensuring they have resources about the public and private services that are available to them; and providing education and training to support their efforts.
  • A "Basket of services": Give patients and caregivers easily accessible information on what home and community care services are available, which are publicly funded and who is eligible. Recognize that non-clinical supports such as homemaking, meal preparation, supportive housing, transportation and respite are often essential to the caregiver.
  • Capacity planning: Ensure Ontario's health care system has the capacity and resources to deliver core services to meet the various needs of Ontarians. The report recommends that each Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) create a plan indicating where there are shortfalls and how any gaps in home care and community services will be addressed.
  • Primary care: Ensure timely and meaningful communication among primary care providers, hospitals and other members of the home and community circle of care. Better align primary care with other sectors and enhance accountability for client and system outcomes. 
  • Increased accountability for performance: Continue to work towards a more accountable and high-performing home and community care sector using performance indicators. For example the report recommends tying funding for home and community care services to the achievement of clearly defined outcomes and results.

The expert group's work included:

  • A review of more than 200 published and unpublished articles, reports and briefing documents related to home and community care.
  • A survey, which gathered 1,147 stakeholder responses.
  • An additional survey of communities, conducted by Local Health Integration Networks on behalf of the expert group, which gathered 2,344 responses.
  • Two sessions with service providers, which included 77 participants.
  • Submissions from 27 submissions interested parties.       

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