While the United States and Canada differ in many respects regarding healthcare, there are similarities in how patients are served and the level of support they may receive following a hospital stay. When patients have adequate access to effective home care, outcomes for both short and long-term can improve.
However, when there are limited resources or home care available, the risk of a readmission or other complications can increase. In Ontario, insufficient home care options are creating one of the largest obstacles for people to overcome when they spend any length of time in a hospital environment.
In fact, where patients and caregivers identify the problems, the top three are all focused on home care. As noted in the news release, Insufficient home care the biggest challenge to overcome after release from hospital, produced by St. Michael’s Hospital and published by EurekAlert!:
“The top three gaps in the system identified by patients and caregivers all related to home care services. Patients and caregivers reported not enough home care to meet the need, that home care support was not in place when patients arrived home from the hospital, and that they had to advocate for themselves to get enough home care. Other priorities related to being involved in discharge planning and once home, having a number to call if there was a problem.
“The transition from hospital to home is a tricky time for patients and caregivers, and if the appropriate supports are not in place, patients are at risk of experiencing poor outcomes,” said Dr. Tara Kiran, principal investigator of the study, who is also a family physician and an associate scientist with St. Michael’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions.”
The importance of home care continues to increase in many aspects of overall health care. As hospitals, doctors, and other practitioners increasingly recognize the value home care offers, it is incumbent upon the industry to find a way to meet the needs of this growing demand.
While Canada certainly has its own unique set of challenges when it comes to health care and home care support services, in the United States high turnover rates, stagnantly low wages, and cuts to Medicaid reimbursement for these services are just a few of the challenges creating gaps in this country.
Technology is one small piece in an ever growing puzzle and as the baby boomer generation retires and places increased demand for home care services on the industry, there is an opportunity for innovative, forward-thinking, business-minded individuals to seek out ways to provide the services this growing aging population requires.