A new service offered by Community Care Concepts is among the recipients of recent stream of provincial funding.
Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris visited the St. Jacobs-based organization September 26 to announce a $1,245,000 commitment to expanding home and community care services in Waterloo Region.
For its part, Community Care Concepts is receiving $120,000 towards its Home at Last program, which helps vulnerable residents with the transition from hospital stays back home.
“Before this funding, we were limited in our capacity of how many people we could serve. The demand was there, we just couldn’t transition as many people home as we would have liked,” noted executive director Cathy Harrington.
According to Harrington, the organization directly supported 560 discharges in 2018. As of the end of August this year, that number is 214.
Not only does the program provide a vulnerable patient with transportation from the hospital back to home, but a personal support worker may also help with a homecoming meal, pick up prescriptions, light housekeeping, basic groceries, and remain with the patient for up to six hours. The patient is also given links to other supports within the broader community if needed.
“If we’re able to move people quickly we’re saving a lot of hours of hospital stay, which then translates to increased space,” said Harrington. “Last year, we know that we saved hospitals a conservative estimate of 25,000 hours of hospital stay.”
Those who may have a particularly keen need the Home at Last program include adults with special needs, adults without support at home, and those on a limited income.
“These are often individuals who may show up in emergency departments, may be scheduled for day surgery, or may be staying overnight in a hospital,” said Harrington.
Other recipients of the funding across the Waterloo Region include WWLHIN Home & Community Care, which received $175,000 towards intensive supports for complex discharges.
The Village at University Gates got $150,000 for Geri med Risk Program expansion, and Grand River Hospital received $800,000 for Child and Youth Health Transitional Bedded Level of Care, and Intensive Home Supports.
The effort, according to the provincial government, is a measure to end “hallway health care.” The term is used to describe when patients are waiting for a hospital bed in an unconventional location, such as a hallway, or another space within a health facility not designed for using the area that particular way.
“Home and community care will play a critical role in ending hallway health care here in Waterloo Region and across Ontario,” said Harris in a statement. “By making these significant investments and supporting partnerships between home and community care providers and hospitals, patients will experience quicker transitions with the appropriate support they need to properly recover, while also making sure hospital beds are available for those who need them.”
It is a part of a province-wide strategy, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced in mid-September that the Ontario government was committing an addition $155 million this year to expand home and community services.