Provincial government funding to reduce home care wait times in Ontario will primarily go towards slashing wait times for patients with who aren't necessarily in need of acute care, says the head of Waterloo Wellington home care agency.
Patients in hospital who have a high level of need are already being assessed quickly, "within a day, sometimes two", said Gordon Milak, the CEO of the Waterloo Wellington Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), in a panel discussion with Craig Norris on The Morning Edition Friday.
But the Waterloo Wellington CCAC wait times for initial assessments for those with non-acute needs are among the highest in the province.
The provincial government has invested $260 million in its budget for the year to achieve that goal, with $185 million going directly to local CCACs for home care delivery. But there are no specifics on how that money will be allocated.
The government funding comes with the goal of reducing wait times across the board to just five days in CCACs across Ontario.
Milak said his agency's priority "would be addressing those moderate to lower needs clients that we can move them within that five-day period.
"As well as, how can we continue to evolve an effective and safe home approach? Again ultimately getting people into the right care setting is the goal," he added, saying it would apply whether it’s long-term care or home-based care."
For lower needs clients, Milak admits that the CCAC has the opportunity to improve on their services and speed up access to care.
For more, listen to the entire panel discussion below.
- John Hirdes, Ontario home care research chair, professor University of Waterloo.
- Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Center for the Elderly.
- Gordon Milak, the CEO of the Waterloo Wellington CCAC.