In my own journey as a caregiver, I came to realize a lot of truths about the health care system where I live:
- Unless you ask, you probably won’t receive.
- The system heavily relies on family members to care for ailing relatives.
- More home care could definitely help a lot of people to live more independently and avoid hospitalization.
The truth is, home care has some how become the health care system’s best kept secret. Mostly because few in it have the time to help navigate the system. When I started out at VHA, I remember my friend asking me about home care for her dad. The reality at the time was that I didn’t know anything about accessing care. Of course in the years since, I’ve learned a lot about how the system operates; however, the average person simply doesn’t know. In Ontario, as in most provinces, at least a minimum level of home care is available to people who meet the criteria.
And yet very few doctors will mention this. My mom’s own physician knew she had fallen at least twice. In fact, she ended up in emergency for a fall. Ultimately, I was the one who ended up calling the Community Care Access Centre and asking for a falls assessment, not her family doctor and not the ER physician.
It seems that if we want to unclog ER waiting rooms and enhance people’s quality of life and independence, we need to let people in on the “secret” of home care and make it a top-of-mind issue for everyone involved.Pamela Stoikopoulos
Pamela is VHA’s Head of Innovation Engagement