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‘Older Adult Strategy’ to enhance care

To address increased need for home and community supports for the population over 65-years-old, the South East Local Health Integration Network has developed an “Older Adult Strategy”

“The OAS broader strategy sets the fundamental direction of the LHIN for this population, and ensures enhanced health care services and outcomes for seniors in the south east region,” said Chris Salt, a member of the board of directors.

The board approved the strategy’s10-year plan designed to ensure resources are being used appropriately and efficiently. Plans are to be developed in collaboration with partners within and beyond the health care services sector.

“Trying to navigate the system with someone who has a terminal illness gets very overwhelming. I expected there to be far more care for the individual who was going through palliative care support, and for someone to sit with myself and my mom and say ‘OK, this is what we need to do, and this is what the next step is,’ but no one was doing that. Nobody knew what was supposed to occur any more than I knew,” said Denise Reynolds, caregiver for her mom, who spoke with the panel.

“People don’t have the support that my mom had, even from myself and my two sisters – and is it fair that even if there is that support that we have to be the care givers as opposed to grieving someone’s end of life? After speaking with the panel I really feel they heard us – they heard the story, they listened to us. I’m very grateful.”

Health care provider organizations will be encouraged to incorporate the strategy and implementation plans detailing key themes for action will be developed by the LHIN in three-year cycles.

Five key strategy themes include:
· Promoting and preserving wellness and functionality of older adults in the community;
· Enhancing caregiver wellbeing;
· Enhancing the care experience;
· Early identification of high-risk older adults with targeted upstream interventions; and
· Supporting older adults affected by dementias, behavioural issues, and addictions and mental health challenges.

Implementation planning is expected to occur over the fall of 2016.

“Looking after a frail elderly relative is very challenging and our system is not designed to be particularly helpful,” said Dr. David Walker, chair of the OAS Reference and Expert Panels. “The Older Adult Strategy is designed to be a high-level strategy annunciating certain themes that will help the LHIN address this aging population as we move forward through the next 10 or 20 years.”

Filed Under: Local News

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