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.
Over the summer all communities tackled the issue 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. In Wawa, The Seniors Solution Council, Wawa Economic Development and the Canadian Red Cross hosted a very successful Seniors Expo. The expo was attended by 26 health care providers and businesses that cater to seniors. It was attended by 123 seniors and their families.
The Corporation of the Township of Dubreuilville is developing an Age-Friendly Action Plan that will promote awareness of resources available for seniors in Dubreuilville and area. They are hosting a Senior’s Expo on Saturday, September 10th as well that will run in conjunction with the Strong Man competition.
Regarding medical costs, the township is working with other northern municipalities to lobby for a less restrictive KM reimbursement. People who must access health care for regular bloodwork but are just under the 100 km limit can recover some of the costs associated with travel.
This summer all five communities invested in improving services signed a letter asking businesses, which provide accommodation near the Sault Area Hospital, to consider costs for obstetric patients who need extended stays. Aside from costs, an accommodation inventory should include a kitchenette option for expectant mothers who must bring other children or family members.
Social issues around youth health and wellness were identified in the needs assessment and were also addressed this summer. All relevant parties formed a committee to share successes and build on those for future youth activities.
Priority Assistance to Transition Home (PATH) is a program that also started this summer. It can reduce re-admissions of frail, elderly patients by providing; transportation home, picking up prescriptions, settling in at home, providing a snack or meal and some light housekeeping upon their return from a hospital stay.
Aside from all the work that has been done, the steering committee is ready to meet on September 7th to discuss each stakeholder’s progress and continue to develop a work-plan that will hold all members accountable for the improvement of health services in their own area. Jennifer McKenzie our NE LHIN resource person, who has assisted us through most of the project, will be in attendance on September 7th. Jennifer was instrumental in pulling together our communities in 2013 and guided us through the North East Rural Communities Framework for Improved Health Services. She is currently helping us develop an ongoing work plan that will see us through to completion in December 2016.
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.