“We’ve got to do better as a city!” Ontario’s Biggest Health Care Issue

On a rainy Monday morning I found myself at Metro Hall sitting among seniors and health care professionals. Jane Teasdale had invited me to attend The Toronto Council on Ageing on June 10th. It was only fitting for Councilor Josh Matlow to host the presentation given. Health care, housing and age friendly transportation has always been on his agenda. With a focus on what we can do now and how we can continue to work with other levels of government, Matlow has lead the senior initiative in Toronto stating, “We have got to do better as a city!”

Matlow has worked closely with the Provincial Lead of Ontario’s Senior Strategy, Dr. Samir Sinha, who was here tell us about Ontario’s biggest health care issue. His presentation was entitled, ‘The Right Care, in the Right Place, at the Right Time- where we stand now where we need to go.’ Dr. Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals. He is also an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and John Hopkins University. With this much experience and expertise under his belt I was eager to hear what he believes is preventing professionals from properly servicing the health care needs of Ontarians.

Sinha’s presentation focused on our health care system’s biggest problem, which was that, “it was founded 40-50 years ago when our populations average age was 27.” As the population’s average age has changed so has its health care needs.

Today our highest health care users have more than one condition they require treatment for; this is called polymorbidity. They will have difficulty getting up or bathing, also categorized as functional impairment. As well, our high users are not getting enough physical activity or emotional stimulation. They are socially frail. These conditions make it difficult for patients to leave the hospital and return home within a reasonable timeframe.

To counter act these issues Sinha provides solutions and presents them to influential people around the province. He believes we need to educate older adults. We need to give them the information they need to navigate our complex health care system. Mosaic Home Care staff witness this everyday and agree that education is the first step to empowering, not only seniors, but children and young adults as well. Mosaic Home Care provides a resource centre filled with over 300 pieces of literature, brochures and pamphlets. The community is welcome to visit and access information on government programs, organizations, private care, hospitals and community agencies.

Sinha also believes our health care providers need to be educated further on the different needs facing older adults. The conditions and needs of elderly people are often very different from young adults; things like medication and specialized care need to be reviewed carefully. All health care professionals need to take this type of interest in their patients, especially as our population ages. Mosaic Home Care provides continuing education for all its nurses and staff members. They have access to the latest protocols and procedures. As well they are expected to complete monthly testing and refresher courses, keeping their skills sharp and up to date in the industry.

One in five people will be over the age of 65 in the year 2031. What is most important is, “we need to talk to each other well within and between sectors and professionals,” says Sinha, “It’s not really about money it’s about working together.”

Mosaic Home Care has taken this philosophy and made it, it’s mandate; often partnering with other agencies and centers to help educate and bring the appropriate services to people who need them.

For more information please call our Resource Centre at 905-597-7000

Samantha Payne

Business Development & Community Relations

Mosaic Home Care & Community Resource Centre