Fixing the broken home care policy that almost killed my mom: Francesca Grosso
My mom is frail, elderly and suffers from a multitude of serious, complex conditions. Yet over the Christmas holidays, she was almost killed by a simple bladder infection that everyone knew was festering.
The day before Christmas Eve, mom started convulsing. She had high fever, vomiting and profuse bleeding. We called 911 and she was rushed to the emergency department in terrible shape with dangerously low blood pressure and a massive hemorrhage. Tests confirmed she had “sepsis,” an infection in the blood stream. All blood thinners she was taking for her bad heart condition had to be stopped immediately. Mom suffered a heart attack a few days later.
All this because the special sample mom needed taken at home to enable prescribing never happened despite numerous nursing visits. Mom’s experience confirms my belief that home care needs to be made easier to access with clearer accountability and direct contact with the physician.
Local Health Integrated Networks, or LHINs (government Crown agencies), should not be involved in any aspect of providing home care. I’ve come to experience that the LHINs just aren’t good at it.
Home care in Ontario has been turned into a bureaucratized system, unintentionally designed to fail.
Here’s how it works: A hospital or doctor orders home care through the LHIN. A LHIN “care coordinator” conducts an assessment with the patient to determine which services, supplies, and how much care you are eligible to receive on the public dime. If a test is ordered in the home, the LHIN is in charge of ordering the test.
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