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Suggested Actions - Community Support & Health Services

The following is a synopsis of the discussions of the community support and health working group at the Age-Friendly Forum June 2011. The actions below may be initiated by any level of government, community group or individual.

Educate seniors and their families about community support services

  • Educate families about services in Halton. Encourage families to plan ahead – before a crisis occurs.
  • Talk to seniors about how they would like to get information about community support services.
  • Consider publishing sections of the Halton Seniors’ Directory in local papers.
  • Recognize/promote Seniors Helpline, a local volunteer network that provide support for seniors.

Help seniors navigate the services

  • “This is not all about a lack of services; it’s navigating them that is the challenge.” We need to demystify services - a single point of contact with a person not a message  machine.
  • It’s important to have a proactive family doctor.
  • An advocate is needed for seniors. It has to be someone that can be reached directly who has extensive training and experience.
  • Provide case management for seniors & families in transitions such as downsizing and other issues that are not in the portfolio of the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC).
  • Clarify the confusion regarding crisis placement into long-term care (LTC) and work to alleviate the pressures on family caregivers.

Make hospitals more senior friendly

  • The point of entry to triage is the problem. Some hospitals have a senior friendly Emergency Room (ER) and staff/process. Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) has a document regarding senior friendly hospitals. Seniors need an advocate in the ER regarding care issues (often there is a long wait before being admitted and no personal care, feeding, etc. for those who need it).
  • Service providers need to recognize Power of Attorney (POA). When it isn’t recognized, it’s difficult for the caregivers to describe client/patient wishes that need to be  considered.
  • Ensure the hours of discharge meet the needs of seniors (e.g., do not discharge a senior at 9:30 p.m. to go home to a dark house and no opportunity to fill prescriptions because their local pharmacy is closed).
  • Hospitals need funding for all of this. How do we advocate at a political level? We need the community to come together to address these issues.

Provide affordable and flexible services that meet the needs of the individual

  • Agencies need to provide service alternatives/options. Clients and caregivers need to be involved in determining /shaping the decisions.
  • Referrals and follow-up actions are important to the client.
  • Use person centred guidelines for seniors accessing services such as transportation, respite care and Community Access Care Centre (CCAC) services.