One of the recommendations of last week's Drummond Report was to shift to more home-based healthcare alternatives.

In Sudbury, an increasing number of seniors are choosing that route, according to Emily Donato, director of Laurentian University’s School of Nursing.

"The shift toward in-home health care is actually something we've been talking about for years," Donato said. "Community health is a big part of our curriculum."

Onaping Falls residents Stan and Mary Nowak said they plan on staying in their home for as long as possible.

A hospital bed for Stan is placed where their couch used to be. The couple, who are in their 90s, said institutions couldn't offer the same level of comfort.

"They tried to be very personal, but still, you know, it's not like home," Stan said. "I came home and people told me that since I came home I look a lot better."

More supports needed

Stan's care is paid for by Veteran's Affairs and the provincially-funded Community Care Access Centre.

Retire-at-home is the private home care franchise that cares for Stan in the evening.

Heather Hachey, who runs the Sudbury branch, said there needs to be more consistent services available to seniors in their home.

"We need more holistic care," Hachey said.  "Things seem to be fragmented somewhat."

She said home-based health care would work better if there were more medical professionals available for home care, such as doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other caregivers.

The Nowaks said they agree with this thinking, as getting out of their house can be problematic, due to Stan’s walking limitations.

Donato concurred that community supports need to be augmented to move more patients out of hospital and into their homes.

"Some of them do belong in a hospital, but most of the time, if they can be in assisted-living facilities or some other alternate level of care ... you need to have the community resources there to enable that," Donato said.