One question I hear all the time is “What is home care?”
Great question! First and foremost:
I believe home care is the answer to one of the biggest problems in our health care system.
That problem being:
In Canada we have a great health care system, but it has a major weakness in that it is ‘institution focused’ rather than ‘individual focused’.
What I mean by ‘institution focused’ is that for someone to get care from our health care system, they have to GO somewhere. Whether that is to a hospital, or a walk in clinic, or a doctor’s office.
This ‘institution focused’ system works well when care needs are complex and require specialized equipment and monitoring (a great example would be a complicated ICU – intensive care unit- case) but a great deal of care is much simpler than that and does not need to be treated in a specialized setting.
For example, picture yourself waiting for 8 hours in an emergency room to get 3 stitches put in. Did that really need to happen in a hospital? Did you really need access to all the most advanced technology society has to offer in order to get your 3 stitches? Perhaps something ‘simpler’ might have worked?
Add to that the fact that for some people accessing ‘institution focused’ care is much more difficult than for others and the problem gets worse. Many individuals who we work with have no access to transportation and could not get to the hospital even if they wanted to without calling an ambulance which then in turn results in more time, effort, and burden on the system.
Lastly, having this ‘institution based system’ is incredibly expensive – a fact that is hotly debated in elections, living rooms, newspapers and coffee shops across the province.
But if our current system is so expensive and doesn’t always meet needs, why is the whole province setup this way?
This has happened as a result of medical needs becoming increasingly complex, and health care professionals becoming more and more specialized. As a result the health care system has moved more towards the institutional setting and out of the home….as it used to be.
The upside is obvious. Because of this centralization we now have cutting edge technology and an incredible work force of health care and medical professionals who are able to manage symptoms and treat diseases that would have been untreatable 100 years ago.
However, the downside is equally obvious. In that if you need stitches, you end up going to the same facility you would go to if you had a critical illness (and then waiting …). And all that structure carries with it a great deal of cost for the province and its residents.
So what does home care have to do with all this? Home care is simply the dream of taking the ideals of our health care system and moving them away from a clinical setting and into the homes of those with needs.
This has two benefits: first is that it is much more convenient for the person receiving care and the second is that it’s usually much cheaper than hospital care.
Home care meets the needs of the person where they are – it takes the care to the individual, rather than asking the individual to come to the institution.
The care can be as simple as helping around the house to providing much more complex nursing care – but all of that happens in the comfort of the home setting. And because all of this care happens outside of the hospital there is no fixed facility costs meaning the care is much more affordable than it would be otherwise.
Of course this view of home care is much broader than the services most companies are offering today – but I think my answer to the question ‘what is home care’ is also a little bit about what home care should be.
But enough from me, if you’re interested in seeing more about how home care really works, why not take a look at our Testimonials page where you can see lots of stories of exactly what home care looks like to the hundreds of families we help in our community.
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