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Short-term intensive home care service on the way

Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The WRHA hopes to reduce the number of seniors discharged from hospital straight into a personal care home by about half through the creation of a new, short-term intensive home care service. The goal is to have this enhanced home care services program up and running in six months’ time.

The new program will meet several aims, including adoption of some of the experiences gained from the Hospital Home Team (HHT) initiative. Provincial funding for the hospital home teams expired at the end of March. Though that concept didn’t deliver the kind of benefits-to-cost ratio initially hoped for when it was announced as a pilot project in 2012, many of its more successful elements will be included in the new, short-term program, says Gina Trinidad, Chief Operating Officer of Long Term Care and Deer Lodge Centre.

“We learned much from the HHT experience and appreciated the staff contribution around this project. The evaluation results and our clinical sustainability plan have resulted in a change in focus of supporting the transition of seniors from hospital to community,” Trinidad says.

“The new program will provide seniors with up to three months of intensive home care and community-based supports, with the aim of allowing them to stay in the comfort of their homes as opposed to a hospital or personal care home setting.”

With that kind of care and other supports in place, Trinidad says the number of seniors being sent to personal care homes from hospital could drop by as much as half.

“Last year, about 1,200 seniors left hospital destined for a personal care home,” Trinidad says. “Once this program is up and running, we hope to reduce that number to around 600, which we think will produce significant savings while, at the same time, helping to improve patient flow.”

The best-practice approach mirrors that used in other Canadian health care jurisdictions, she adds, and will heavily rely on health care aide support and, where necessary, support from physicians, nurses and other interprofessional team members.

“We’re calling it the enhanced home care program and unlike our usual home care program, it will offer seniors up to three months of intensive recovery support visits, often several times a day,” Trinidad says. “Planning is already under way. We don’t have all of the details finalized just yet, but our goal is to have the program up and running within six months.”

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