Health system integration update: modernizing the delivery of home and community care while maintaining stability of services

As part of the Ontario government’s plan to better connect care for all Ontarians, the Honorable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, has issued a transfer order under the Connecting Care Act, 2019, transferring pediatric home care capacity from Home and Community Care Support Services Champlain to CHEO, a pediatric health care and research centre in Ottawa.

This planned transfer, the first of its kind in Ontario, moves paediatric home care out of administrative siloes and embeds it with providers across the continuum of care. The transfer will take effect on September 20, 2021 and is part the government’s comprehensive plan to better connect care for patients, including the youngest.

Families in the region have asked for integrated care in acute and home care services through consultations over a number of years. This model to deliver home care services for children in the Champlain region was approved in December 2019, and the transfer will enable an innovative local approach to integrate pediatric home care with other services, simplifying the health care journey for children and youth in need of services such as short-term nursing visits or ongoing care at home and school.

With this integration, home care will be embedded with pediatric-focused partners, including those at CHEO, and become part of a network of services around children that can quickly be accessed based on a patient’s needs. This transfer is an important step towards ensuring that each child will have one patient record and one care plan that follows them throughout their health care journey so that specialists at CHEO, members of the child’s home care team and other health care professionals can quickly access the same information and work together to support the child and their family.

This transfer will better connect care for approximately 1,800 current home care clients who require an estimated 121,000 visits or hours of care. This will not impact patients who don’t require pediatric services.
As a pediatric hospital, children’s treatment centre, regional autism provider and mental health agency, CHEO is uniquely positioned to enhance the quality of care and services across the spectrum of the patient’s needs. Services will be offered though Kids Come First/Les enfants avant tout, an innovative model of child and youth wellness that is focused on enhancing the delivery of a full continuum of care for children across Eastern Ontario.

Ensuring continuity of care is a top priority. During the transition, children, youth and families will continue to access the same services through the same care coordinators they have come to know and trust.

Progress on modernization: continuing to recognize the vital role of Home and Community Care

Over the past year, Ontarians have seen how important it is for health service providers to work together as one integrated team to deliver high-quality care to patients all across Ontario. This is especially true of home and community care providers, whose tireless efforts help to ensure that patients receive the exceptional care they need and deserve in the most appropriate setting.

Home and community care are vital to keeping people safe and healthy and have critical in supporting Ontario’s COVID-19 response. The province continues to move forward with thoughtful, incremental changes to modernize home and community care as part of the government’s plan to build an integrated health care system focused on the needs of patients.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to engage with a wide array of stakeholders on regulations related to the delivery of home and community care as part of the Connecting People to Home and Community Care Act, which was passed in 2020 but has not yet been proclaimed. Once finalized, the regulations would come into effect and the legislation would be proclaimed, in combination to form the enhanced framework for home and community care.

On April 1, 2021, Ontario’s Local Health Integration Networks began operating under the name Home and Community Care Support Services, reflecting a focused mandate to deliver home care and long-term care home placement services, as well as facilitating access to important community care services. This will facilitate stability and improvements to the delivery of home care as part of the government’s plan to better connect care for patients, including the youngest.

As of July 1, 2021, Home and Community Care Support Services has welcomed its standalone board of directors with Joe Parker as the new Board Chair and an Interim Chief Executive Officer, Donna Cripps, to lead Ontario’s Home and Community Care Support Services organizations. These appointments ensure strong leadership to support continuity of high-quality home care services and ongoing partnership in modernizing home and community care.

The ministry will continue to work with Home and Community Care Support Services and our health sector partners by bringing them to work as one coordinated team in alignment with Ontario’s efforts to modernize the health system.