The Evolution of Compassionate, High Quality Care: Reflections from VHA’s President and CEO Dr. Kathryn Nichol
As the holiday season approaches, taking the opportunity to reflect and share appreciation for all we have accomplished together over these past twelve months is a meaningful and essential way to reset before we gear up to address the year ahead. This year it has been great to see our teams once again gathering in person to connect and celebrate, and I am happy to share with you a picture (above) of VHA’s management team at a leadership event in November. As ever, I am inspired and grateful for the tremendous dedication and commitment of VHA’s staff and service providers and the partners, volunteers, funders and clients and families we work with. Here are just a few of the highlights of how our collective work has advanced in 2023.
Supporting our people
Providing high quality care delivered with great heart in our communities is VHA’s mission. Our office team and care providers demonstrate expertise, compassion and ingenuity every day in dedication to our clients and families. Supporting them, especially in the midst of the ongoing health care worker shortage, is a critical priority. This year we were pleased to launch a new awards program to recognize impactful leadership at all levels of the organization and to once again celebrate a record number of nominations for VHA’s Client Choice Awards. We implemented a number of training and engagement sessions to support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) priorities as outlined in our DEI report and action plan 2022.
Integrating care across our organization and the sector
Improving care experiences across the services we provide is an ongoing priority for VHA. Internally, the development of a “one team” approach is creating a better work experience for our team members and improving communication and coordination with our clients and families. VHA plays an active role in the growth and evolution of Ontario Health Teams (OHTs), including participation in 5 of the 12 OHTs that have been designated by the government for acceleration.
An important component of this work is helping people transition out of hospital more quickly with appropriate supports at home. By working with hospital partners like University Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital, and others, we’ve created more access points for home care across our clients’ unique healthcare journeys.
Advancing the sector with research, innovation and thought leadership
VHA invests in home care science to inform continuous improvement efforts to make care and experience better at VHA and across the broader sector. This year VHA collaborated with the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) to provide evidence supporting investment in the home and community care sector to help people age at home. We partnered on a valuable project to build understanding about care experiences for 2SLGBTQIA+ older adults and VHA’s nurses shared their experiences with Assistant Deputy Minister Dr. Karima Velji. VHA is committed to supporting innovative projects to support our aging population including participation in an exciting Pan-Canadian initiative aimed at improving the quality of life for seniors through technology. More of VHA’s published research papers with data to inform and advance the sector can be found on VHA’s website here.
Enhancing our digital tools to support clients and providers
VHA is implementing a digital transformation strategy to ensure our tools effectively support our people, assist us to work with partners and help us provide enhanced service to clients and families as the digital landscape evolves. One key aspect of this strategy is the expansion of the myVHA client portal. Since its launch in late 2022, myVHA is now supporting over 900 registered clients with easy-to-use, secure access to their care schedules and expanded options for communicating with their VHA care team. Throughout 2023, we have worked in collaboration with clients and software vendor GoldCare to expand the available features on myVHA and this will continue into the new year.
Exploring growth opportunities to support more community members
In 2023, VHA has strategically pursued opportunities to collaborate on new projects and test fresh ideas. We believe growth becomes a moral imperative when it comes to supporting those who are in need of services we can provide. One such opportunity we have embarked on is the expansion of a unique program VHA provides to those struggling with hoarding disorder. This service is now available in York region to support those at risk of eviction and homelessness.
Delivering the highest quality care
As always, the provision of safe and high-quality care is of the utmost importance to help keep Ontarians out of hospital and safe in their homes and communities. VHA’s commitment to quality excellence and continuous improvement was recognized again in 2023 with designation as a Best Practice Spotlight Organization from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario for the fifth consecutive term.
Thank you to VHA’s impressive staff and service providers, our valued partners, our volunteers, and of course the clients and families we are here to serve for your support and collaboration on all of these initiatives. We have big ambitions for 2024 to build on these efforts and to engage with our community to develop our next strategic plan to guide our work forward. From everyone at VHA, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season and may the new year be filled with positivity for us all.