How Health Links are changing lives 

Health Links saved my life – Janelle’s story

Janelle is 33-years-old and has very complex medical needs. She takes 24 medications, and sees a primary care physician and 23 specialists to manage a medical condition that includes insulin dependent diabetes, chronic renal failure and neuropathic pain, back pain, depression, hypertension and a persistent foot wound. These symptoms affect her ability to manage independently in the community, and waiting for multiple specialist appointments leaves her feeling frustrated and helpless. Ultimately, her inability to manage this complex condition results in frequent trips to the hospital emergency department and poor quality of life at home.

After just several weeks of close follow-up with the care plan by the health care team and regular status check-ins by a North York Central Health Link care coordinator, Janelle is learning to self-manage her symptoms. Her diabetes is under control, she takes fewer medications, has lost weight and the wound on her foot has healed. Although there are still complex medical issues, Janelle is making fewer trips to the emergency department and “feels like a new person” due to improved quality of life.  She states,“Health Links is the best thing that ever came about — you saved my life.”

Through Health Links, Janelle’s care coordinator not only invested time to better understand the conditions and care needs, but also created the team approach that could better address her complex needs. By being linked to a care coordinator, participating in a multidisciplinary case conference, and following a coordinated care plan, she experienced a drastically different style of care than prior to enrollment in Health Links. Health Links created a personalized care network that was characterized by improved coordination, information sharing and collaboration. Ultimately, the patient learned to self-manage symptoms and overall quality of life improved.