Seniors’ health care advocate has voice at the table

Central East LHIN consumers play role in health care decisions: Filinski

Randy Filinski has a genuine avenue for improving seniors’ health care in the Central East Local Health Integration Network (Central East LHIN).

While driving seniors to medical appointments and experiencing the loss of his mother-in-law, the Pickering resident saw the health care system in action.

The events are empowering him to make a difference.

That was 10 years ago and he’s now more active than ever with the Central East LHIN. Filinski meets with hundreds of other consumers, securing him a voice and a seat at the table in local health care decision-making.

As a consumer advocate for seniors’ health care, Filinski participates in much of the Central East LHIN’s work focused on improving the health and well-being of seniors.

“We’ve become a very key piece,” says Filinski about consumers. “Since the inception of the LHINs, the Central East LHIN has had a remarkable and workable strategy of engagement of not only the service providers, but the community at large.” 

“We are invited to tell our anecdotal stories and after being collected, are asked to participate in the design and evaluation of key proposals focused on capacity building, targeted services and consistent standards across the sectors.”

Currently, Filinski is enthusiastically engaged in the re-design of a service for seniors called the Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network (GAIN).

GAIN clinics are located at Lakeridge Health’s Oshawa site, Peterborough Regional Health Centre, at Rouge Valley Health System’s Centenary site and at the General campus of The Scarborough Hospital.

Funded by the Central East LHIN, GAIN teams help seniors living at home or in retirement residences who are frail and require a comprehensive health care assessment. Providers help people who are experiencing multiple and complex medical, mental health and psychosocial problems and/or dealing with a recent decline in cognition or the ability to function.

GAIN teams work with older people and their families to develop personalized care plans to help seniors remain in their homes. Primary care providers and an interdisciplinary team of health care experts, therapists and practitioners collaboratively develop the best health plan for each senior.

“From a consumer point of view, this is the most powerful thing I’ve seen in health care in a long time,” says Filinski about GAIN.

“It really gets to the essence of treating people the way they should be treated. We’re not treating a symptom, we’re treating the person.”

Most of the seniors who visit GAIN clinics hail from hospital appointments. Unfortunately, only 11 per cent of people in need of this type of support actually go to the hospital, Filinski notes.

The Central East LHIN is working to change that through the re-design of GAIN as six new community-based clinics open in the spring.

Submitted by Natalie Hamilton, Axiom News.  To contact Natalie, please email natalie@axiomnews.ca.

The Central East LHIN is currently implementing its third Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP), setting out a shared goal for the local health care system to help Central East LHIN residents spend more time in their homes and their communities.

Improving health care for seniors is a top priority for the Central East LHIN.  Together with Randy and other stakeholders, the LHIN is actively working on the “Community First – Seniors Aim”.

For more information on “Community Engagement” in the Central East LHIN, please visit the Central East LHIN website – please click on “Resource Documents – Community Engagement.” 

To learn more about GAIN and the GAIN clinics, please click on “Get Connected with Care – GAIN.” 

To learn more about the development of a LHIN-wide system of Care for Frail Seniors, please click on “Resource Documents – Planning – Regional Specialized Geriatric Services.”