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Home First program established as a top priority by Quinte Health Care

Quinte Health Care board of directors at Tuesday’s meeting. Photo By Jaykob Storey, Qnet News

By Jaykob Storey [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Home First [2] program is going to be an important priority for Quinte Health Care [3].

President and CEO, Mary Clare Egberts made the statement at the QHC board meeting on Tuesday might. 

According to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care [4], the Home First philosophy is the idea that elderly patients are to be discharged to their homes where they can make appropriate decisions regarding their care. It is often assumed that for  many elderly patients a care facility is the only option. Home First seeks to change that perception and provide appropriate community support to allow patients to remain in their homes, with their families.

“Discussions about long-term care shouldn’t take place in the hospital,” said Egberts.

“It’s not our move to decide what people need. It’s their move.”

Egberts says that she believes as many as 50% of patients placed in long-term care have not been properly assessed, or made aware of community supports that will allow them to live independently or with family.

“It’s really important that when a patient comes to the hospital, we get them home as soon as possible. You get into long-term care faster if you are in your home or in the community.”

Board member Patrick Johnston argued that he did not believe there were enough supports available but Egberts remained firm in her stance that the assistance was there and that the public needed to be made aware of it. She further stated that on average, a hospital bed would remain empty for less than 4 hours before it was required by another patient. This makes getting patients ready to return home a priority, as the beds would be required by those with what she referred to as, “acute medical needs.”

“Once the acute medical needs are addressed, they (elderly patients) should be discharged,” said Egberts.