CARP met with Ontarios new Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bob Bell, on July 25, 2014 and introduced CARPs advocacy work in health and the need for health care transformation, an area that CARP has increasingly been pushing for.
CARP emphasized to the former president of the University Health Network, a network of 4 major hospitals and research centres in Toronto, the importance of shifting care from institutions to homes and communities. Not only do Ontarians want to receive care at home but it would also result in cost savings for the health care system, since home- and community-based care costs a fraction of long term care homes and hospitals. Additional health care transformation initiatives that can improve care and save costs include bulk purchasing of drugs and supports for informal family caregivers, which were also in CARP-CMAs joint Seniors Care Challenge during the recent federal by-elections.
CARP also highlighted the need to transform end-of-life care and dementia care, two areas that Ontarians and their families unprepared for and need support. Leadership is needed to transform how the health care system guides people and deliver the appropriate care. For example, dementia care needs to be transformed to take into consideration the specific behavioural and cognitive challenges of those with dementia. This may mean creating more evening activity programs instead of the current day programs for patients with dementia since many dementia patients become more active in the evenings. Currently, healthcare delivery models and approaches are unresponsive and inadequate to the challenges to the families face with end of life and dementia needs. The approach to care has to be made person-centric.
The Deputy Minister welcomed the input of CARP, stating that many of our recommendations are aligned with the direction that the province is moving towards. CARP will continue to monitor to ensure that the province implements its budget health promises while also pushing for greater health care transformation.