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Happy Anniversary! One year of making home and community care better for kids and families

Author: Kids Come First | Enfants avant tout

23 September 2022

This week marks one year of pediatric home and community care at CHEO and the benefits to thousands of children, youth and families are ones we can all celebrate.

Last September, the Ontario Minister of Health transferred responsibility for the delivery of this care in Ottawa and the Champlain region to CHEO’s Integrated Home and Community Care program as an initiative of the Kids Come First Health Team.

Since the transfer, families of kids with complex medical care needs have reported marked improvements in school and home care connectivity, and smoother transitions from hospital to home.

In the past year, the program has:

  1. provided more than 200,000 hours of home and community care,
  2. improved hospital to home transitions, especially for families who need medically complex care,
  3. reduced processing time from 9 months to 7 days for referrals to school-based rehabilitation,
  4. grown the  team by 77% to ensure children, youth and families have access to timely, quality care and better care journeys,
  5. ensured all children who need nursing in school were able to receive it and start school with their peers,
  6. aligned the regional, school-based Mental Health and Addictions Nursing Program to, a Kids Come First Health Team  program  connecting kids and their families to the mental health, addictions and substance use care they need,
  7. provided in-school mental health, addictions and substance use health care to hundreds of kids
  8. provided high quality community-based respiratory therapy care and education for families of infants, children and youth living with complex respiratory needs,
  9. established a core team of Registered Dieticians to provide a continuity of care across homes, schools and the hospital.

The Integrated Home and Community Care program envisions a seamless health-care system centred around the needs of families and their kids, especially those with complex medical care needs. It’s meant to help children like eleven-year-old Emanuel, who was born with a rare genetic disorder that causes developmental delay, epilepsy, and mobility challenges.

“Manu brings us enormous joy, but navigating his medical appointments and school-based therapies, providing for his basic care needs at home, and juggling our work responsibilities can be overwhelming for my wife and me,” says David Bell, Emanuel’s father and co-chair of a committee that oversees the service. “Living through the pandemic prompted us to think about ways to improve the quality of care that Manu receives at CHEO, through other community organizations, and in the home,” adds David. “That’s why I’m so happy to be one of the caregiver voices helping to shape child-friendly, expert home care services that we rely so heavily on.”

“It’s an incredible team effort across numerous organizations to make these gains over the last year for kids and their families receiving care at home and in the community,” says Jennifer Proulx, Director of Integrated Care Delivery at CHEO. “But I’m really excited for what’s yet to come as we work with families and all our partners to design a system that simplifies families’ lives and truly meet their needs — a system powered by real partnerships and a common goal of the best life for every child and youth.”

To help inform their work, the Integrated Home and Community Care Working Group is currently soliciting ideas through an online survey. If you have ideas on how the program can improve, consider completing their Pulse Survey here.