Earlier this year a thought provoking government-commissioned report on home care in Ontario was released, highlighting the struggling state of the system and its urgent need for restructuring. Titled “The Care We Need”, the critical report prompted the provincial government to release a new funding program as a direct response, implementing a series of pilot projects expected to transform the home and community care systems.
The “self-directed” care model focuses on involving patients and caregivers in the planning and co-ordination of their care plans from the beginning, giving them more information, flexibility and control over the care they receive.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins states that the new funding model will give patients a greater say in choosing a provider and how and when services are delivered.
As the planning and delivery of home and community care shifts towards being client and caregiver centered, everyone who has needs will understand the support they can expect.
One of the major criticisms of the system highlighted in “The Care We Need” focused on poor communication between care providers of all different levels, inadequate information and poorly-informed consent.
With that being said, agencies are beginning to look for ways to modernize the delivery of their services to accommodate the new funding model, keeping in mind one significant factor: communication is key.
With many patients, caregivers and family members feeling left in the dark when it comes to home care plans, the new funding model pushes for transparency within the system. Telehealth programs are becoming more predominant, allowing services to be tailored to patients’ needs, providing greater access to specialized care, reducing travel times and shortening wait times.
AlayaCare has implemented a family portal feature into their software, equipped with video conferencing to provide key stakeholders with the tools they need to directly engage in the care of their loved ones—no one gets left in the dark.
The self-directed funding model also has implications on the every day processes of care workers, and it is imperative for them to have access to all the tools and information they need in order to provide consistent, high-quality care.
With more and more care workers using mobile devices for work purposes, agencies that embrace the mobility trend can gain access to streamlined communications. AlayaCare provides an impeccable user experience across multiple devices allowing Nurses and PSWs updated access to patient information while working in the field.
Care workers are informed on their mobile devices and automatically have access to patients’ location, care plan, vital signs, and all other essential information needed to ensure clients receive the fastest, most reliable care possible.
By incorporating alternative modes of communication, agencies have the opportunity to improve their overall quality of home health care, resulting in better outcomes for all parties involved. This new funding model will drive greater value, consistency, and transparency of services and programs delivered. Although there may be challenges, such initiatives have stimulated an increase in public support for self-directed care, which is justified both as a step toward empowering individuals, and gaining system-level efficiencies.