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Friday, May 4, 2012

Home care: it's about people, families, and their perspectives – not ours

Dr. Paul Holyoke is the director of Saint Elizabeth’s research department, which has an extensive applied research portfolio across five themes:  client experience and person-centred care, health system innovations, use of evidence, clinical interventions in home care, and innovative research methodologies.   

This report emphasizes how important it is for older Canadians to be able to remain in their homes.  As the focus shifts more to home care, we need to realize that people don’t simply want facility-based care at home. 

In a research project funded by Saint Elizabeth and the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, I talked with home care clients and heard what makes a difference for them.  This video from the project captures in their own words what they want in home care. They tell us care should be personalized, flexible and delivered at a pace that responds to people’s needs and preferences. Care should honour and enrich people, their homes, their family members and caregivers, their memories of the past and their hopes for the future.  In short, people want and need more than help with activities of daily living. 

It’s essential to listen to these perspectives and ensure home care is truly client-centred, not task-centred. While all services in the home, whether personal care, home support, nursing or rehab, need to follow a care plan as a guide to achieving goals, we must recognize that people’s needs, priorities and preferences frequently can change. All home care providers require the flexibility and support to respond to the most important needs as expressed by people themselves, day by day.

The growing focus on home care is a great opportunity for us to share our knowledge, apply person-centred approaches, and reflect people’s preferences and perspectives in all we do.  If we accomplish this, we’ll optimize the potential of this shift for everyone.

PLEASE NOTE: On May 9th, the Health Council of Canada held a webinar Canadian Home Care Priorities for Seniors: What Can We Learn From Australia? with our special panelists:
  • Jeff Fiebig, Manager, Program Development of the ACH Group in Adelaide, Australia
  • Pamela Fralick, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Healthcare Association
  • Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director of the Canadian Home Care Association
The webinar expanded upon many of the issues presented in our recent report, Seniors in need, Caregivers in distress: What are the home care priorities for seniors in Canada?

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