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Ensuring better patient outcomes through home care

"Keeping patients at home for as long as possible is important to the patient and their family. The patients feel strongly about staying in familiar surroundings and near family. Their dignity and self-esteem remains intact and they are happy."

This blog comment from one Albertan (see Christine Innes' comment in this blog postingsummarizes the value of home care and why it means so much to those who receive it and to their families. Home care services help Albertans remain safe and independent in their homes or care settings for as long as possible through a variety of different services:

  • health promotion and teaching
  • treatments
  • care at end of life
  • rehabilitation
  • personal support such as medication assistance and bathing
  • assistance to maintain social connections
  • support for caregivers

Many of us may need some form of home care at one point or another, regardless of our age. For example, with a 33 percent growth rate expected in those aged 0 - 19 over the next 15 years, we know pediatric home and community based services and supports for children with complex care needs will be essential.

As AHS, in partnership with Alberta Health, builds a vision for home care out to 2031, some other ideas that could be considered include:

  • continued investment in home care, resulting in fewer visits to the Emergency Department and early discharge from acute care
  • more staff to meet client and family needs to help manage each patient’s experience through the various home care supports
  • achieving a balance between urban and rural core service options, and improved transitions between communities
  • more collaborative partnerships with various groups:
    • Acute Care, Mental Health, and Primary Care
    • Integrated Supportive and Facility Living Program
    • Transition Services
    • Family and Community Support Services
    • Ministries of Education, Children’s Services, Community and Social Services, and Seniors and Housing
    • Community pharmacies and contracted service providers
    • Seniors groups
  • expanding the use of technology to contribute directly to the health record and health monitoring at home; this would support virtual access to specialty services from  rural locations, and would enhance client safety  (for example, GPS tracking devices for individuals with dementia)
  • supporting  families and other informal caregivers through assessment, respite care, and counselling

Our goal is to ensure the best possible home care supports are in place by 2031.