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Calling for better integrated care across the community

On April 25, 2018, more than 5,100 residents participated in a health care conversation during Osler’s Telephone Town Hall.

Patients and community members had the opportunity to ask senior leadership questions about health care in their community as well as questions specific to programs and services at Osler.

Click to see a full transcript of the events and the discussions that took place.

Frequently asked questions

What is the purpose of the Telephone Town Hall?

As an increasingly popular community engagement forum, the Telephone Town hall is very much a conversation, the purpose of which is two-fold. It allows senior health care leaders from across the Central West area to help residents better understand what each organization does and how they work together to provide health services to the community.
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It also provides area residents with an important opportunity to ask questions and provide participating organizations with valuable feedback around how they might be able to better meet the health needs of patients and families in this area.

Together, the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Headwaters Health Care Centre, Region of Peel Health Services and William Osler Health System (Osler) have engaged local residents through four Telephone Town Hall conversations over the past two years. The most recent Telephone Town Hall, conducted in October 2014, engaged nearly 8,000 households across the Central West area in a conversation about local health care and seniors services.

While thousands of households from across the Central West area are randomly selected and invited to join the conversation, anyone can participate. Residents are encouraged to check participating organization websites regularly for updated information on the next Telephone Town Hall.

Community care services

I have been hearing about something called ‘Health Links’. What are they and how will they help better coordinate care in the community?

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is improving care for seniors and others with complex conditions through Health Links. This innovative approach brings together health care providers in a community to better and more quickly coordinate care for patients with high needs.
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In 2013-14, the Central West LHIN played a key role in the collaborative design and implementation of Health Links, being one of the first of Ontario’s 14 LHINs to fully implement Health Links across the entire geographic area. Five local Health Links were created, each having adopted a common business plan and a standard model of care to ensure a consistent experience for patients and providers. Health Links in the Central West LHIN include Bramalea and Area, Brampton and Area, Dufferin Area, North Etobicoke - Malton - West Woodbridge Area, and Bolton - Caledon Area.

When different health care providers work as a team to care for a patient, they can better coordinate the full patient journey through the health system, leading to better care for patients. Health Links will help to ensure that patients with complex conditions:

  • No longer need to answer the same question from different providers.
  • Have support to ensure they are taking the right medications appropriately.
  • Have a care provider they can call, eliminating unnecessary provider visits.
  • Have an individualized comprehensive plan, developed with the patient and his/her care providers who will ensure the plan is being followed.

Health Links encourages greater collaboration between existing local health care providers, including family care providers, specialists, hospitals, long-term care, home care and other community supports. With improved coordination and information sharing, patients receive faster care, spend less time waiting for services and are supported by a team of health care providers at all levels of the health care system.

Health Links puts family care providers at the centre of the health care system. By bringing local health care providers together as a team, Health Links helps family doctors to connect patients more quickly with specialists, home care services and other community supports, including mental health services. For patients being discharged from hospital, the Health Link allows for faster follow-up and referral to services like home care, helping reduce the likelihood of re-admission to hospital.

All Health Links have a coordinating partner such as a Family Health Team, Community Health Centre, CCAC or hospital. All members of the Health Link must be willing and able to collaborate in order to better and more quickly coordinate health care services for high-need patients such as seniors and others with complex conditions.

There are a lack of resources in some of the smaller areas outside of Brampton, Etobicoke and Orangeville. How can we get connected with the services we need?

For those who aren’t connected to, or who have limited access to the internet, it can be challenging to find out about the services you may need. Recognizing this, the Central West CCAC has put a telephone number in place at #310-CCAC, that will connect people with a live operator between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. in order to help answer your health care questions and find access to the services you may need.
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In addition, Peel region residents can also dial #211 on their phones to get connected to information and referrals to community and social services in their area.

How can I find out about where to go for care in the community?

Finding services that you need, when and where you need them most can be challenging, so the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) has set up the ‘Central West Health Line’ at www.centralwesthealthline.ca.
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This website contains reliable, up-to-date information about more than 1,000 health services and supports in Brampton, Caledon, Malton, Etobicoke, and Dufferin County, including walk-in services, clinics and pharmacies – as well as services that are open and available 365 days a year.

How can I get homecare for my elderly parent or find out about other community care services in this area?

The Central West CCAC provides information about and access to in-home and community care. Call 1-888-733-1177 to speak to a trained health care professional, or visit www.centralwesthealthline.ca.
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Both of these resources contain information about care and resources in your area. You can also talk to your family doctor / nurse practitioner, who can connect with the CCAC to discuss how your needs might best be met in or close to home.

What is the general wait time for patients who are going in to long-term care, who can only afford basic accommodation at this time?

The average wait time can be as little as 45 to 50 days for some of the homes that have beds available. Depending on your location, needs and preferences, the wait can also be longer.
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For more information about wait times in our region, visit the Central West CCAC’s website at www.healthcareathome.ca/centralwest and click on “Long-Term Care Wait Times” located along the right side of the homepage. As you do so, however, please note that wait time information is intended to be a resource for families, not a definitive guide on choosing a home. Ultimately, choosing the home that is right for you requires careful consideration of many factors, including your health status, needs and personal preferences. Your CCAC care coordinator can help you determine which options may be best for you.

How can communication between primary care physicians and CCAC be improved?

Working closely with primary care providers is a priority of the Central West CCAC. The organization currently collaborates with these key partners on a number of fronts, and is committed to improving communication with them even further to better serve the people of Central West.
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In June 2013, it launched launch new tools to make accessing the Central West CCAC even easier, including a dedicated phone line, website, and electronic news bulletin for primary care providers. The CCAC trusts these tools will be helpful and the organization looks forward to receiving feedback from its primary care partners about how to best meet their needs.

Going forward, the CCAC will continue to build upon this foundation through initiatives such as Health Links, with the goal of making patient care as seamless as possible.

Hospital programs and services

What is being done to improve wait times in Osler emergency departments?

Like all hospitals across the province, Osler continues to deal with pressures in our emergency departments (EDs). Osler EDs had more than 204,000 patient visits in 2013-2014, with Brampton Civic Hospital having the busiest emergency department in Ontario. On average, our emergency patient volumes increase by six to eight per cent each year, compared with an average increase of two to three per cent across other hospital emergency departments in the province.
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Osler is doing everything possible to ensure patients and their families receive timely, safe and compassionate care, but it also continues to look for ways to improve its services. Osler continues to add more ED physician hours to help respond to the need for care and to effectively manage length of stay. Osler is one of the first EDs in the province to have more than one physician in the ED overnight.

Osler’s on-call coverage is available at any time so that if our volumes exceed capacity, additional physicians can be called in. Members of the ED health care team also have ‘medical directives’ to start the care of the patient, even before they are seen by the attending physician.

Osler has also created an ED video which is a great resource to help familiarize people with the ED so they understand what happens there on a typical day.

Why does it take so long to see a specialist?

Waiting to see a specialist can be difficult, particularly when an appointment is not right away. Local health partners are working diligently on a number of initiatives to help provide greater access to specialists in the area, and to reduce time spent waiting to see one.
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If you would like to follow-up about your appointment, or inquire about trying to get an appointment even sooner – or with another specialist, contact your family practitioner’s office or have a conversation with your physician during your next appointment.

Why do I have to pay for parking at the hospital? What do the fees go toward?

The funds generated from parking charges support various hospital initiatives and functions, such as purchasing new equipment and funding services that address the health needs of our region’s growing and diverse communities.
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Fees are determined annually following a market review of similar-sized hospitals to ensure rates are in line with what other facilities are charging.

Why are there no ultrasounds or other diagnostic services at night in the emergency departments?

For urgent cases, doctors will perform the services they need to conduct in order to provide the care that is needed. If a particular service can wait until the next morning, they will be deferred to the next morning, as the hospital cannot be staffed in the same way overnight, and it is during the day.
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Osler has made changes to its services so that radiologists and techs will stay later in the evening (e.g. 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.) so that services can be expanded into the later hours of the day.

Regional resources

How can I access services in other languages than English?

The Region of Peel offers a special website – http://www.immigrationpeel.ca – for newcomers to the region, or for those who are in the process of immigrating to Canada and thinking of settling in Peel. This site contains a number of resources for newcomers to Peel, including how to access various health services, and many are in languages other than English.The Central West CCAC also offers live interpreter services in hundreds of languages. If someone you know does not speak English but needs to access home and community care, they can call the CCAC at 1-888-733-1177 and an interpreter will assist with their call.

Related information

Resource Center

Helpful links to the most useful lists and forms for health professionals.

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