The following are the highlights of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network Board of Directors meeting held in Ottawa, Ontario on September 26, 2018.
Patient and Family Advisory Committee Activities
|Board Chair Jean-Pierre Boisclair and Committee members
Cathy Doolan, Roger Pharand, Anita Manley,
Stephanie Paravan and Doreen Rocque
Patients, caregivers and families are essential partners in health care. Celebrating its first anniversary, the Champlain LHIN’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee provides its collective voice to shape programs and services that improve health care for the people who live and work in Champlain.
Committee members shared with the LHIN Board their lived experiences in our region’s health system, while Committee co-chairs Stephanie Paravan and Anita Manley provided updates on the Committee’s activities that support the Committee's priorities which include:
1) Expanding the benefits of Health Links to those who need it
2) Improving the experience when transitioning between hospital and home
3) Improving the patient experience between patients/caregivers and home care coordinators.
Committee members Cathy Doolan and Roger Pharand highlighted engagement activities they have been involved in, and the impacts of their involvement:
- As a caregiver, Committee member Cathy Doolan wanted to get involved with the working group for the Champlain LHIN’s recently introduced Client-Partnered Scheduling model. The intent is to help address the imbalance in the delivery of personal support services given that 41 per cent of clients receive personal support services between 8 am and noon. The morning surge leaves personal support workers available to provide care later in the day, but with no patients scheduled at those times. The model, which started to be piloted in Eastern Champlain in mid-September, allows providers to work with patients to identify blocks of time where care could be provided, while considering clinical need, availability of workers, and patient preference.
Earlier this year, Cathy began working with LHIN staff, providing the caregiver perspective to how the model should work in Champlain. “My experience with the working group was extremely positive,” said Ms. Doolan. “They were very receptive to the Committee’s input; it worked very well. Patients are now being consulted earlier in the implementation process to gather information about how the model is working for them.”
- Committee member, Roger Pharand, spoke of his involvement in the LHIN’s regional expansion of the Health Links approach. Health Links is for people who use the health system the most—those individuals living with four or more complex conditions. The goal is to provide one, coordinated care plan focused on the patient’s goals. Each plan is supported by a team of health professionals who work together, improving the patient’s care and experience with health services. This approach also reduces their unnecessary hospital admissions and emergency department visits, which means a more efficient use of health care resources.
Across the region, the LHIN has put significant effort into promoting awareness of Health Links. Earlier this year, Mr. Pharand was involved in the creation and development of a strategy to inform members of the public about the benefits of Health Links. “This strategy document really paves the way for how we are going to do outreach to patients and families. The LHIN has done fantastic work in putting this together,” explained Mr. Pharand. The Health Links Patient-Caregiver Engagement Strategy has seen outcomes that include standardized communication tools and resources, establishing local champions, and incorporating continuous quality improvement into Health Links efforts.
While discussing the progress that’s been made over the past year, the LHIN’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee is looking ahead to collaborate as full partners on other LHIN projects and initiatives from the earliest stages. Committee Co-Chair Stephanie Paravan said, “Collaboration is the ideal for patient engagement - when the patient has been involved at every level, right from the beginning.”
Board Chair Jean-Pierre Boisclair thanked the Committee members for their personal commitment, time and efforts in these voluntary positions. On making the most of the Committee, he added that “as we move forward, we will know the LHIN is effectively engaging with patients and families if their voices are successfully amplified across the health system.”
Dementia Care Services Update
Gweneth Gowanlock and Carol Holmes-Kerr
The LHIN Board received an update on dementia care in the region, including hearing from caregivers who provided insight into the challenges they experienced.
Christine Gagné-Rodger, LHIN Sub-Region Director, Eastern Ottawa, introduced caregivers Gweneth Gowanlock and Carol Holmes-Kerr, who are also members of the Champlain Dementia Network. Each explained what it was like being caregiver to their husbands before, during and after they were diagnosed with dementia, “…a disease that slowly robs people of the essence of who they are,” said Ms. Holmes-Kerr.
The burden and stress for caregivers of people with dementia are significant, including the physical and emotional demands of caring for someone around the clock, ensuring the person with dementia stays safe.
“A supportive community that empowers people with dementia
and their families to live well” – Champlain Dementia Network vision
The Champlain Dementia Network is comprised of leaders from hospitals, community health centres, community support services, specialized geriatric services, and other partner organizations. The Network provides advice to the LHIN as well as leadership and support to implement our region’s dementia strategy, which was first introduced in 2014. Key elements and results from the strategy include:
- Improving supports for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Some achievements include improved caregiver relief as a result of the LHIN’s investments in more community programs for people with dementia and their loved-ones such adult-day programs (where clients can engage in activities, and caregivers can get a break).
- Creating collaborative models of dementia and primary care services to build capacity among family doctors and nurse practitioners to detect, diagnose and find support for people living with dementia. In fact, the Champlain LHIN was one of the first LHINs in the province to establish primary-care memory clinics in the province. There are now 15 of these clinics in our region among the 100+ across the province. In our region, there are now 14 primary care geriatric-assessor clinics, and a dementia-screening tool for providers to use. This means people are being diagnosed with dementia sooner, stigma is decreasing among providers as they better understand how to have conversations with their patients about dementia, and how their patients can get the support they need.
- Public education - increased awareness, understanding and acceptance of dementia as a chronic condition. The goal is to lay the groundwork for dementia-friendly communities. There have been four annual awareness campaigns focusing on brain health, understanding dementia, getting support, and advanced care planning. In 2017-18, there were nearly 7,000 visits to the rethinkdementia.ca website, and more than 10,000 Facebook comments and shares.
The LHIN continues its work to advance dementia care in the region. “We need to continue building primary-care capacity, expanding caregiver support and relief, and improving care coordination. For example, strengthening connections to Health Links and to acute-care settings, like hospitals, to make the most of our resources,” said Christine Gagné-Rodger.
Lung Health Services Update
|Leah Bartlett, Christina Dolgowicz
and Michelle Maynard
The Champlain LHIN’s focus on COPD services includes significant investments to expand lung health programs in the community and the recent implementation of a centralized intake process, which makes it easier for people in urban and rural communities to get enrolled in community lung health programs.
While this year alone has seen a 109 percent increase in referrals to the lung health programs, the investments also helped decrease rates of hospital readmissions and emergency room visits because COPD patients are given the tools they need to manage their conditions at home.
Leah Bartlett, LHIN Senior Integration Specialist; Christina Dolgowicz, Coordinator, Lanark Renfrew Community Lung Health Program; and Michelle Maynard, Manager, Ottawa Community Lung Health Program shared with Board members an update on recent efforts to improve outcomes for clients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (also known as COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Statistics in our region show that COPD accounts for tens of thousands of visits to primary care providers, emergency department visits and hospitalizations each year.
The Champlain LHIN has played an ongoing and committed role to improving lung health in the region establishing the Champlain Lung Health Network to improve lung health resources for asthma and COPD patients. The Network includes patients, respiratory therapists, community providers and hospital providers from across the region to:
- Increase public awareness about lung disease
- Improve the diagnosis and treatment of lung disease
- Improve access to lung health services in rural and urban areas
- Reduce morbidity and mortality rates of lung disease, and improve patients’ quality of life.
Some of the Network’s important accomplishments to date include:
- Creating and publishing the Breathing Easier Guide for Asthma and COPD Patients in the Champlain Region, which outlines lung health services available for residents and health care providers in the Champlain LHIN
- Improving people’s access to lung health information by implementing the Lung Health Toolkit, an online resource
- Currently, there are 28 lung health sites serving the region, based out of three community health centres (Somerset West, North Lanark and Seaway Valley). There are four community pulmonary rehabilitation sites associated with the local programs, bringing evidence-based care closer to home. Overall, around 3,000 clients with COPD accessed the community lung health programs in the past year.
Clients are reporting:
- 70 percent decrease in hospital admissions
- 64 percent decrease in emergency department visits
- 48 percent decrease in primary care visits to manage COPD.
Going forward, the Champlain LHIN and Champlain Lung Health Network aim to continue their joint efforts, including promoting and expanding the centralized intake for lung health services, and improving patient transitions from hospital to home.
LHIN-funded CMHA Ottawa Nears Full-Designation
The Champlain LHIN Board approved a plan for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ottawa Branch (CMHA Ottawa) to achieve full designation for French-language health services.
The CMHA Ottawa is a community-based, organization. It receives almost $15 million in funding from the Champlain LHIN, and employs 100 staff to provide case management and supportive counselling to people with severe and persistent mental illness, along with a range of supports including nursing clinics; mental health diversion and court support, and supportive housing rent supplement programs.
“The agency felt it was critical to achieve full-designation - kudos to them,” said Board member Diane Hupé.
Designation is a means of meeting French-language service needs of the population through capacity-building, supporting guaranteed and permanent access, and establishing quality standards for French-language health services. Organizations can go through a process to acquire one of three designation statuses: full, partial, and identified (to seek official designation). Organizations with full designation are ones that offer all of their services in French.
With the Champlain LHIN Board’s approval, the CMHA Ottawa’s designation plan next goes to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for review. Once approval is received, CMHA Ottawa will be the seventh Champlain LHIN-funded health service provider to gain full-designation in the mental health and addiction services sector.