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Hamilton among 1st cities to receive local health team: province

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot announces the new Hamilton health care team at McMaster University on Nov. 26, 2019.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot announces the new Hamilton health care team at McMaster University on Nov. 26, 2019. Ken Mann / Global News

Hamilton will be among the first cities to adopt the province’s new team health care model, which is set for 24 regions across the province.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Christine Elliott announced the Hamilton Health Team, made up of two-dozen members of Hamilton health and social service partners representing more than 20 organizations, including primary care, home care, hospitals and long-term care.

“We want to make sure that care is going to be centred around patients and that making sure that at every step they have in their health care journey, whether it’s in hospital, returning home or long-term care, that they’re going to have the services and the supports that they need,” Elliott told Global News.

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Elliott says the primary goal of the new teams will be creating a plan and delivering on local health care to eliminate “hallway health care,” allowing providers to work directly with each other as a single, co-ordinated team and delivering “truly patient-centred care.”

“So this is actual people who live and work in Hamilton that are going to be planning and providing the care facility for patients across the region,” Elliott said.

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The health minister says the difference in the new system will be a “sense that there is integrated care” connecting patients with services after they leave the hospital.

“Often as people need home care when they leave the hospital, by the time they leave the hospital, they don’t know who the home care provider is,” said Elliott.

“That changes under the new system so that all of that is provided to the patient before they even leave the hospital.”

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The new Hamilton care model will be implemented in stages – starting with priority populations, including adults, children and youth with mental health and addictions and older adults with multiple chronic conditions.

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Elliott says implementation of the new teams should reduce wait times by limiting the number of patients returning to hospital should a complication arise.

“Home care professionals will be able to receive advice from the hospital and will be able to know what to do without that person having to come back into the hospital emergency department,” Elliott said.

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