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Villa Colombo Project Updates

Villa Colombo Toronto: Our Commitment to Seniors Newsletter. Vol. 4 – April 2019

Ontario Government Announces Major Health Care System Changes
How will long-term care facilities be affected?

This article is part of a series of newsletters from Villa Charities focusing on the renewal of Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. (Villa Colombo Toronto) and our commitment to long-term care. The newsletters will be issued regularly to provide our community with information about long-term care and the renewal project.

On February 26, 2019, the Ontario government announced that it will proceed with major changes to the province’s health care system that would coordinate the activities of existing provincial health agencies and programs under a single new agency, called Ontario Health.

Legislation introduced by the government would consolidate all 14 Local Health Integration Networks, Cancer Care Ontario, eHealth Ontario and other agencies into the new central agency, once approved.

The changes are intended to make the health care system easier to navigate, better coordinate patient transitions between care providers, and reduce costs by removing overlap in “back office” functions such as accounting and human resources. A further goal is to expand digital services such as online patient access to medical records and virtual care.

Coordinated Care

Hospitals, long-term care facilities such as Villa Colombo Toronto and Villa Colombo Vaughan, home care services, family doctors’ groups and other medical providers would be integrated into local “Ontario Health Teams” that coordinate and deliver health care services. These include:

  • Primary care (family doctors)
  • Hospital care
  • Residential long-term care (including Villa Colombo Toronto and Villa Colombo Vaughan)
  • Home and community care
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Mental health and addictions

Each team would be responsible for health care delivery within a geographic area, serving approximately 300,000 people on average. In addition, some Ontario Health Teams would focus on specific areas such as pediatrics or seniors.

The teams would deliver all of the care required by each patient and would connect them to the services they need. Patients will still be able to choose their own family doctor and other care providers, and to access new and existing services.

Patients often require care from multiple providers or in different places. By coordinating care and having a single online medical record for each patient, providers would:

  • Have ready access to each patient’s health information
  • Be aware of local health care services
  • Help patients navigate the system
  • Ensure referrals get to the right place

Responsibilities of the New Agency

The new agency would integrate a wide range of functions, among them:

  • System management such as health care planning and delivery; improving quality of care; measuring system performance; and financial oversight.
  • Oversight of cancer care, critical care and other specialized care
  • Back office support
  • System oversight including assessing and planning for local health needs

The government has said it plans to roll out the new approach gradually in order not to disrupt patient care.

For more information on the proposed health care changes, visit:

Click here to download the newsletter
Clicca per la versione italiana del notiziario Vol. 04

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Villa Colombo Toronto: Our Commitment to Seniors Newsletter. Vol. 3 – March 2019

Ending Hallway Health Care in Ontario: What Can Be Done?

This article is part of a series of newsletters from Villa Charities focusing on the renewal of Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. (Villa Colombo Toronto) and our commitment to long-term care. The newsletters will be issued regularly to provide our community with important information about long-term care and the renewal project.

A newly released report from the Premier’s Council on Improving Health Care and Ending Hallway Medicine has identified some of the key challenges to effective health care delivery in Ontario along with opportunities for improvement.

The January 2019 report, “Hallway Health Care: A System Under Strain,” is the first of a series of reports to be issued by the Premier’s Council to help inform the future of health care in Ontario. The report found that the health care system is too complicated to navigate, wait times for care are too long, people too often receive care in the wrong place and, as a result, hospitals are crowded.

The Council was established to advise the government on how to solve these problems and improve health care results. Its findings will have a significant impact on long-term care (LTC) and community services for seniors in Ontario, including care provided by Villa Colombo Toronto.

“(O)n any given day in the province, there are at least 1,000 patients receiving health care in the hallways of our hospitals,” Council Chair Rueben Devlin writes in the report. “At the same time, the wait time to access a bed in a long-term care home is 146 days (on average).”

In addition to the issues of long wait times and a complicated system, the report found that:

  • The system lacks the right mix of services, beds and digital tools to accommodate growing complex care needs and capacity pressures.

  • Better coordination is needed system-wide and at point-of-care for the system to work efficiently and deliver better health outcomes for the taxpayer money spent.

Overloaded Hospitals, Insufficient Alternate Care

According to the report, many patients require a different level of care such as long-term care (LTC) or rehabilitation services but are waiting in the hospital for that care to become available. In October 2018, almost 16% of days in hospital were spent by patients that were waiting for a space in another setting, and that number is rising. This issue is even more serious in the Greater Toronto Area. Here are some key statistics:

  • The largest amount of hospital patients awaiting alternate care are those waiting for LTC beds (59%).

  • This is partly because LTC homes are currently at 98% capacity/full, and also because services in people’s homes are not growing fast enough.

  • 20% of Canadian seniors admitted to LTC could remain at home with appropriate in-home supports (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2017).

The Premier’s Council will focus on solutions in its next report. It has identified four key themes to help guide the development of recommendations:

  1. A pressing need to integrate care around the patient and across providers in a way that makes sense in each community and improves health outcomes.

  2. Growing demand and opportunity to innovate in care delivery, particularly in the use of virtual care, apps and providing patient access to their own health data.

  3. The potential for more efficient streamlining and alignment of system goals to support high quality care.

  4. The need for long-term planning to ensure the right mix of health care professionals, services and beds to meet changing health care needs.

The first and last themes above are expected to impact future planning for Villa Colombo Toronto. The report aligns with most health care experts in pointing to a solution that combines more LTC beds, expanded community care services, and an appropriate number of hospital beds through an integrated care system supported by enhanced primary care through local doctors.

The Premier’s Council Interim Report can be downloaded here.
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Clicca per la versione italiana del notiziario Vol. 3

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Villa Colombo Toronto: Our Commitment to Seniors Newsletter. Vol. 2 – February 2019

The Continuum of Care for Seniors

This article is part of a series of newsletters from Villa Charities focusing on the renewal of Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. (Villa Colombo Toronto) and our commitment to long-term care. The newsletters will be issued regularly to provide our community with important information about long-term care and the renewal project.

As Canada’s population ages, how to provide senior care – and how seniors can access care – present growing challenges for governments and care providers.

Adding to this challenge is that as seniors grow older, the level and type of care they receive, along with their housing needs, change over time. The stages along this path form a continuum of care, as illustrated below.

The five stages along the continuum of care provide a general guide to an individual’s path, which may vary from person to person:
  • The types of housing and services noted in the diagram are applicable to seniors at each stage and are typically available in the community. Seniors at each stage will generally access only the services and housing type that match their specific needs.
  • Seniors can access community support services, which provide assistance for independent living either in their own residences or in facilities such as seniors’ apartments and retirement homes. Services include, for example, Meals on Wheels and assistance from personal care workers for bathing and other day to day activities.
  • The path does not necessarily follow a straight line, as an individual’s care needs can increase or decrease at any point in time.
The services highlighted in yellow in the diagram are offered by VCI and its affiliates, including Villa Colombo Toronto, Villa Colombo Vaughan and the Columbus Centre. In addition, VCI operates three apartment buildings for independent seniors: Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Casa Abruzzo.
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Canada’s Aging Population
Seniors in Canada are a rapidly growing segment of the population and are living longer and healthier lives than previous generations. In 2017, 6.2 million Canadians were aged 65 or older. By 2037-in two decades-seniors will number 10.4 million.
The challenge before us at Villa Colombo Toronto, Villa Charities and province-wide is this: how do we provide the care and resources to meet the needs of the steadily increasing population of seniors?
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Clicca per la versione italiana del notiziario Vol. 2
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Villa Colombo Toronto: Our Commitment to Seniors Newsletter. Vol. 1 – January 2019

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Enhanced Renewal Strategy: What Does it Mean?

Villa Charities is pleased to present the first edition of our newsletter focusing exclusively on the renewal of Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. (Villa Colombo Toronto) and our commitment to long-term care. This series of newsletters will be issued regularly to provide our community with important and useful information about long-term care and our project.

In October 2014, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) announced an initiative directing 300 long-term care (LTC) homes across the province to upgrade the facilities that support 30,000 long-term care beds to new Ministry standards by 2025. The program is a key part of the province’s Enhanced Long-Term Care Home Renewal Strategy.

The Fusco wing, which accommodates 266 of Villa Colombo Toronto’s 391 beds, is directly impacted. It is mandatory that we meet the Ministry requirements by the deadline, otherwise we risk losing our licences to operate these beds.

The Ministry-directed enhancements involve upgrading all beds and living spaces to MOHLTC 2015 Design Guidelines. This includes providing larger bedrooms with separate ensuite washrooms; replacing all three and four-bed rooms with single and two-bed rooms; and creating a more intimate, home-like environment. According to a Feb. 6, 2015 MOHLTC news release, the initiative also involves improving accommodations for residents with complex health care needs, such as diabetes and dementia.

Additional changes proposed by the province in the Nov. 7, 2017 “Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors” include:
  • More staffing and supports to provide an average of four hours of daily direct care per resident;
  • Promoting innovation by introducing new technologies to all long-term care homes to help create a modernized and efficient system; and
  • Providing greater access to culturally appropriate long-term care and in-home supports.
“Long-term care homes are not just facilities, they are peoples’ homes. It is vital that they remain up to date to provide residents with secure, safe and comfortable surroundings.”
–      MOHLTC (2015)
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Prior to its directive, the province undertook a comprehensive provincial inspection of all long-term care homes in Ontario, including Villa Colombo Toronto. The inspection included interviews with residents, their families and staff; on-site observation of care delivery; and a review of individual care plans and progress reports.
For more information on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Enhanced Long-Term Care Renewal Strategy, visit their website at www.health.gov.on.ca.

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Clicca per la versione italiana del notiziario Vol. 01