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Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care

Archived Backgrounder

Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care

Ministry of Health

Ontario is making it easier for patients and their caregivers to access better care at home and in the community through Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care - a new plan to improve and expand home and community care.

Based on recommendations in Bringing Care Home, a report from the expert group on home and community care, the plan includes 10 steps toward higher quality, more consistent and better integrated home and community care.  It also lays out clear timelines to achieve these goals over the next three years.

1.  Develop a statement of values with a focus on patient- and caregiver-centred care

The starting point is making sure that Ontario's home and community care sector meets the needs of patients and their caregivers. Together with clients, caregivers and providers, the government will develop a statement of shared home and community care values. This statement will reflect a true patient- and caregiver-centred approach to care and will guide the transformation of home and community care.

2.  Create a Levels of Care Framework

Ontario is making it easier for patients and their caregivers to understand what they can expect when care is needed at home or in the community. The government will develop clear definitions of how much and what kind of support Ontarians can expect based on their care needs with the development of a Levels of Care Framework to be implemented across the province to ensure more consistent access.

3.  Increase funding for home and community care

In the 2015 Budget, the government proposed that it will extend its commitment to increase funding for home and community care by an additional $750 million across the province over the next three years.

4.  Move forward with Bundled Care

Ontario is helping health care organizations provide better and more integrated care for patients and their families, with a new payment model called Bundled Care. This coordinated approach will help patients transition more smoothly out of hospital and into their home. It also builds on the success of St. Joseph's Health System's Integrated Comprehensive Care Demonstration Project where integrating funding across multiple providers and care settings improved the patient experience, reduced time spent in hospital and decreased the number of emergency room visits.

5.  Offer self-directed care to give patients more control

Over the next two years, Ontario will pilot different approaches to giving eligible Ontarians more choice over who provides services in their home and when these services are delivered. The goal is to empower patients and caregivers by giving them more flexibility and control over their care plans by involving them more in the planning, organizing and coordination of care they receive.

6.  Expand caregiver supports

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding. It can also be challenging, both emotionally and physically. The government recognizes the important contributions of caregivers and will provide more support for caregivers, including training and education, improved access to information and respite care.

7.  Enhance support for Personal Support Workers

Personal Support Workers provide the majority of direct care services in the home and community care sector. They play a critical role, providing support with daily living activities including bathing, feeding and dressing. Over three years, beginning in 2014-15, Ontario is increasing the base wage of publicly funded Personal Support Workers who work in home and community care by up to $4.00 an hour to at least $16.50 per hour by April 1, 2016.

8.  Increase nursing services for patients with complex needs

The government intends to increase the number of visits and hours that nurses can spend with patients who have highly complex care needs. A proposed additional investment of $5 million would equate to more than 80,000 additional hours of nursing care. This will help reduce the burden on caregivers and meet the long-term health needs of patients, supporting them at home and keeping them out of hospitals and long-term care. A public consultation will inform the new level of nursing services available through Community Care Access Centres. It is currently proposed that clients with complex needs could receive up to 150 visits per month, up from 120 visits each month. Ontarians in the last stages of life or awaiting placement in a long-term care home could receive nursing services above this limit.

9.  Provide greater choice for palliative and end-of-life care

The government will develop a patient-centred framework for palliative and end-of-life care by engaging with clients, caregivers and leaders in the delivery of palliative services. This new framework will focus on ensuring equitable access to palliative care for all Ontarians, supporting formal and informal caregivers, and providing coordinated care where clients want it.  

10.  Plan for the future

Ontario is developing a capacity plan to ensure that our health system has the capacity and resources required to meet the current and future health care needs of an aging population. Coordinated, province-wide planning will help ensure value for money and that Ontarians can continue to get the services they need when they need them.

Moving forward, Ontario will continue to seek expert advice, work with sector partners and engage the community to ensure Ontario's roadmap is delivering the highest quality home and community care.

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