LHIN Touch with Kim Baker

With fall now in full swing, we are enjoying the season of ‘new beginnings’ and fresh starts right across the Central LHIN.

I always enjoy the opportunity to visit and connect from time to time with people who benefit from health care services in the Central LHIN system. Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting with Barbara, who receives assisted living services in her Tottenham condominium. Barabara moved from North York to this small, rural community so she could live closer to her adult children, but as time went by found that she needed additional help and support from assisted living services to help her stay independent. 

CHATS (Community & Home Assistance to Seniors) is a Central LHIN health service provider, and provides Barbara with the services she needs to safely live on her own. Based at its head office in Aurora, CHATS provides assisted living services to about 350 clients through what we call a ‘hub and spoke’ model.

As the centralized ‘hub’, CHATS provides coordinated recruitment, training and support to make sure that staff have the skills and expertise to care for seniors in their own homes. Staff are based in a number of satellite locations or ‘spokes’ across the Central LHIN. Their proximity to the community lets them travel with relative ease to help seniors who are living in rural homes, or clustered in retirement communities such as the one where Barbara lives.

“I don’t know what I would do without my team from CHATS.”  - Barbara, an assisted living client

Chatting with our  LHIN residents about their health care services gives me a close, up-front view of how we are performing and where we can do even better. This day was a particularly difficult one for Barbara, as her son had recently passed away and she was attending his visitation the same evening that we came to see her. Nonetheless, she insisted on keeping our appointment and welcomed us warmly and with pride to her cozy and comfortable condo.

Barbara spoke positively about the two personal support workers from CHATS who help her on a rotational basis. She says they make her feel valued, like this is more than a ‘job’ to them. They’ll help Barbara with laundry and showering, team up with her to make a healthy meal or simply chat over a cup of tea.  And there is peace of mind for Barbara and her family, knowing that one of them will be there as quickly as possible, if she falls or has a health issue.

Without assisted living, Barbara says she would need to explore other options such as long-term care.

Barbara’s story confirms for me how important it is to continue to listen to our clients – and to partner with our health service providers to continually improve, based on what we are hearing. About a year ago, there were changes to the assisted living model in the Central LHIN that were difficult for some of our residents to understand. But by working closely with CHATS and other assisted living providers, we were able to solve many of the issues that surfaced, and our providers are working hard to continually improve the care they provide to seniors within the Central LHIN.

The proof of success is in CHATS’ most recent customer experience survey: a 92% excellent/good rating, with 91% of clients surveyed saying that they feel CHATS enables them to remain in their own homes.

Helping people get the care they need close to home is a key priority as we put the final touches on our Integrated Health Service Plan (the IHSP is our strategic plan for 2016-2019).

Together, we’re better!

When we held our final face-to-face engagement session for the IHSP on Friday September 18, our health service providers confirmed that together we have built an inspiring framework to guide us towards our vision of Caring Communities, Healthier People. We’ve defined six strategic priorities that will help us to build a system of sustainable care for the future.

  • Better Seniors' Care
  • Better Palliative Care
  • Better Care for Kids and Youth
  • Better Community Care
  • Better Care for Underserved Communities
  • Better Mental Health   

Visit our website to learn more about these priorities and the IHSP framework.

Congratulations to …

Many of our health service providers are engaged in outstanding and innovative work, and from time to time I’ll highlight a couple of examples.

Of note recently is the October 18 move and opening of the Humber River Hospital to its new site and a new era in patient care as the first fully digital hospital in North America. My sincere congratulations to the leadership team, the staff, volunteers and donors on completing the extraordinary work associated with the hospital development and subsequent move.

As well, we offer our congratulations to Dr. Jeremy Theal, a gastroenterologist and the Chief Medical Information Officer at North York General Hospital in Toronto, who was honoured on October 14 with the Minister’s Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety.  Dr. Theal won the medal in the Individual Champion category for his leadership on the eCare project. For more information on both of these highlights, please visit our website.

These are just two examples of the shared purpose and passion of all of our health service providers and partners. On behalf of the staff and the Board of Directors at the Central LHIN, please extend our warmest thanks to all of your staff and volunteers. We appreciate everything you do every day to transform care – creating caring communities and healthier people. 

I always enjoy hearing from our all of our Central LHIN stakeholders, so please feel free to get in touch if you have questions or ideas by emailing us at central@lhins.on.ca.