New health-care program helps seniors access homecare
Health Links program will help seniors get medication and coordinate care after leaving the hospital
Posted: Feb 18, 2013 8:27 AM ET
Last Updated: Feb 18, 2013 3:11 PM ET
A new program in northeastern Ontario is designed to help seniors access homecare and medication after they leave hospital.
Politicians have said health-care organizations need to work together to guide patients after after leaving the hospital.
The latest attempt is a program called Health Links which is coming to Timmins and Temiskaming.
The provincially-funded program supports patients who have left the hospital but are still too sick to understand what kind of follow-up care they need.
According to the North East Local Health Integration Network, a recent study found that 75 per cent of seniors with complex conditions who are discharged from hospital receive care from six or more physicians and 30 per cent get their drugs from three or more pharmacies.
Health Links enables outgoing patients to one person to get information about medication, homecare, and other services.
It's an idea that follows a line the province has long maintained: that the best solution for the elderly is to live at home with support.
Dr. André Hurtubise is a doctor in Temiskaming and a proponent of Health Links. But he said it needs to show results before people lose faith in public healthcare.
"If this is not successful, I don't know what the government is going to do next because its not sustainable the way we're doing it now," he said. "People are not going to be happy and governments are not going to know what to do."
Hurtubise, who helped develop the program in the north east, will submit his plan to the province Tuesday and hopes to see the program up and running within a month.
But senior advocacy groups say they will remain skeptical until they see the results.
John Lindsay, president of the group Friendly to Seniors, often gets complaints about how hard it is to leave the hospital - and stay out.
He remembers one man who left after heart surgery and needed follow-up care. However, he was still too sick to understand how to get it and didn't have anyone to help him.
Lindsay said the current system is too complicated.
"The consumer, in other words the person who is ill, really isn't interested in how this operates. They just want to make sure that it does operate," Lindsay said.
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