Update on North Algoma Health Steering Committee

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The North Algoma Health Needs Assessment (NAHNA) is now in the Implementation stage of the project and after 2 years of consultations and a Health Needs Assessment in five communities, several recommendations for improvements have been identified. The steering committee membership is made up of community stakeholders who have committed to oversee the successful implementation, within their own organisation, of recommendations put forward by the Health Needs Assessment Survey. We have a year to implement improvements to our local health care.

Progress is being made, particularly in the area of “awareness of programs and services.” Across all demographics, and in all 5 communities, the survey identified that people are not sure who does what and where to go for services. This issue is currently being addressed in several ways. In Wawa, The Seniors Solution Council is working with Wawa Economic Development and the Canadian Red Cross on a Seniors Expo set for Seniors Month in June. The outlying areas such as White River and Dubreuilville will also be hosting their own activities showcasing programs and services in their areas.

An inventory of services was developed to assist care providers and community members with information on local services. Promoting the use of the 211 Help line is essential to people of any age to access information on all services from health to financial assistance, locally and provincially. The 211 line has constantly updated data at their finger tips 24 hours a day and is a bilingual service. No one should fall between the cracks with this service available.

Transportation was another issue identified in the survey as lacking in hours of service, awareness of existing services and affordability. The township is working with the committee to tweak its transit bus hours. In White River, those who have to travel to Wawa for medical appointments are just 3 km under to qualify for the northern travel grant. The mayors groups in northern Ontario are currently addressing this issue.

Frail, elderly patients who need support upon return from hospital was another issue identified in the survey. The LDHC and the Canadian Red Cross have addressed this issue by incorporating the PATH program in Wawa. Priority Assistance to Transition Home can reduce re-admissions by providing; transportation home, picking up prescriptions, settling in at home, providing a snack or meal and some light housekeeping.

Monthly meetings of the steering committee are open to the public and we encourage anyone who has questions regarding the recommendations put forward, contact a representative on the committee or attend in person. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the LDHC in the downstairs boardroom. At these meetings reports from each stakeholder’s issues are received and progress is assessed using a common tool to identify viability and progression into implementation (or at this point, detriments to achieving success are identified.)

There are several issues identified for Wawa and area which can be found in the results of the North Algoma Health Needs Assessment on the municipal website, the LDHC website and at the local library.

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