Ontarians will be able to count on house calls from their family doctors and nurses under a new Ontario Liberal plan, London North Centre Liberal Candidate Deb Matthews announced today.
“House calls are coming back to Ontario so anyone who has difficulty getting to appointments will be cared for right in their homes,” said Matthews, who is also Minister of Health and Long-Term Care in Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government. “It makes it easier for them to stay comfortably where they want to be.”
Matthews announced the proposed new program at the home of Barbara Burns, 83, whose mobility challenges make it difficult for her to travel to visit a family doctor. The proposed new program means that Mrs. Burns and any Ontarian who can’t get to the doctor due to mobility issues or severe illness, will receive convenient, at-home treatment.
The program will offer services ranging from a health professional’s visit (such as a doctor, nurse or occupational therapist), to phone and online consultations — all making access to health care easier, and more cost effective. Long-term care costs $150 per day per patient — and it grows to $1,000 per day in a hospital. Helping patients requiring complex care stay in their own homes while providing the treatment they need costs a fraction as much.
“This program is the next step forward, making it easier for doctors to provide this service, and easier for seniors to stay in their own homes,” said Dr. Mark Nowaczynski, leader of a not-for-profit service called House Calls.
The primary care system and home care system are being redesigned. Those who can’t get to the doctor due to mobility issues or severe illness will have care brought to them via telemedicine, phone consults or house calls.
This will improve care and reduce hospitalization rates and pressure on long-term care, reaching seniors, as well as any complex patient who needs enhanced services.
The program will also provide a range of services such as:
- Regular, scheduled doctors’ house calls
- Regular, scheduled home visits by nurses
- Enhanced provincewide telehealth home care — patients can call or go online and talk directly with a nurse practitioner or a doctor to get help.
It is anticipated that house calls and enhanced services will also save money in the health care system. Today, it costs about $150 per day for Long-Term Care and $1,000 per day in a hospital. By helping more patients stay in their own homes, while providing them with the care they need, is expected to cost a fraction as much.
The Ontario Liberal government says that it has devoted resources to health care and focused on a strategy that’s delivering results.
- Since 2003 we have 2,900 more doctors in Ontario, and we reached agreements with the Ontario Medical Association that provide incentives to make house calls
- We opened 200 Family Health Teams and 25 nurse practitioner clinics — many of these practices are already offering easier ways for patients to connect with their care team such as email or phone consultations
- Since 2003, more than 1.3 million Ontarians have family doctors who didn’t have one before
- By 2013 Ontario will have doubled the number of doctors coming out of medical school and into practice compared with 2003 — that means more doctors are available to make house calls
- Wait times are down and we have built 18 hospitals — better for those who do need additional medical attention
- MedsCheck at Home is a medication review program available now for patients who aren’t able to get to their local pharmacy in person.