Executive Lead Update from Dr. Kim Morrison
It has been an amazing first year in our Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Ontario Health Team (FLA OHT). Despite the many pressures our community experienced as a result of the pandemic and the challenges that exist across the globe, so many people have given their time, energy, and expertise to come together to build the FLA OHT. The pandemic has demonstrated the essential integration of partners, the value of collaboration and the benefits of sharing resources to get a job done. These are qualities that bode well for our ability to achieve the aspirations of our Ontario Health Team – to build a high-quality, fully connected health-care system for everyone in the communities we serve.
Over the next year, our focus is to co-design the People-Centred Health Home together with our community; one that integrates the core services that everyone needs to stay healthy and well. All twenty-four primary care practice groups in the Frontenac, Lennox and Addington regions have embraced this vision. As we build connections to other care resources in the health neighbourhood we will create a health-care system where any door is the right door for people to find what they need.
We are so fortunate to have a vibrant and engaged community council comprised of volunteers, many of whom are co-leads on our working groups and support structures. This essential group includes members of both the Indigenous and Francophone communities, ensuring that all voices have a place in the team. Our membership now includes over 100 partners, organized into eight networks of care. Partners are learning about each other and building trusting relationships.
Together we have committed to a collaborative quality improvement plan—targeting improvements in mental health, cancer screening and preventative care, and reducing the number of patients waiting in hospital when what they really need is an alternate level of care. We are building a digital strategy to connect the pieces of our health system. For example; enabling primary care to make referrals to specialists through platforms, incorporating data to inform quality improvement and many other enhancements to care using technology. Navigation services across all provider types are being brought together ensuring that our collective resources are known, understood and easily accessible by all who need them to stay well.
Our four priority-population working groups have plans and proposals in place to transform the way care is delivered and received. Care providers from multiple agencies are coming together in People-Centred Health Homes to connect clients with the best supports in the mental health field. An Aging-Well-at-Home advocate is now embedded into a Health Home to ensure seniors have the appropriate support, holistic care, and tools to stay well in their homes. An educational program was launched to support primary care providers to deliver high-quality palliative care in people’s homes. A proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Health to support a 24/7 palliative care team to support our community to bring care up to new national standards for supporting people at this delicate time in their lives. The process by which people are discharged from the hospital to their Health Home is being investigated to define and resolve gaps in care or communication so that transitions from hospital to home are smooth.
There is much work ahead. Concrete steps are underway to build connections and complete small tests of change that, when successful, can scale and spread across our community. Over time, these will help us realize our shared vision of a system of health and wellness in People-Centered Health Homes for every person in Frontenac, Lennox and Addington of which we will all be proud.