Home First - Providing Care in the Right Setting

Harold (Hank) and Barbara Willis of Campbellford had to cut short their vacation in Mexico earlier this year after 83 year-old Harold had an unexpected surgery and spent two weeks in a Mexican hospital.  The long flight back to Canada via Los Angeles meant that Harold had the dressing on his wound for a day-and-half and so their son drove them directly from the airport to Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) in Cobourg.  Home First 

Hank was immediately admitted to the hospital for examination where Barbara praises the attention they were given.   “It was really great, because the physiotherapist worked with Hank and showed him how to walk while a special wound nurse also attended to him and gave instructions how to care for his wound.  When the Case Manager from the Community Care Access Centre came in and talked to us about Home First and arranged to have a nurse come to our home to care for his wound, we were so pleased and reassured.”

HOME FIRST, a philosophy that promotes safe and timely care, services and supports to meet health care needs of patients and families in the most appropriate setting, was first introduced to local health service providers in September 2010 as part of the Central East LHIN’s Aging at Home strategy and is fully implemented in all fourteen acute care hospital sites in the Central East region.

It has resulted in stronger partnerships amongst the hospitals, the Central East Community Care Access Centre (CECCAC) and local Community Support Services (CSS) agencies as they work together to ensure that all patients entering a hospital in the Central East region have the ability to go Home First.

With the leadership of the CECCAC, over 4,000 clients have been discharged home with enhanced services since last fall.  This has helped to reduce emergency department wait times as patients can now be safely discharged, in a timely manner, by providing services in their home.

“It’s (Home First) so much more economical for the whole system,” Hank observes, “and is one of the smarter moves on the part of the health system. When most people talk about health care, they don’t think about receiving services in the home so that you don’t have to stay in the hospital occupying a bed.”

For more information on Home First and to view a video about this new way of providing care for seniors, please click here.