Expert Article | Top 5 Benefits of Integrated Home Care

 

Integration helps improve the coordination of services to better meet the needs of clients and providers. Accreditation Canada defines integration as “services, providers, and organizations from across the continuum working together so that services are complementary, coordinated, in a seamless unified system, with continuity for the client.” Here are examples of Integrated Care (IC) initiatives across Canada:

  • Home is Best™ in Fraser Health Authority in British Columbia
  • Integrated Palliative Care Initiative in Prince Edward Island
  • Integrated Client Care Project (ICCP) in Ontario

Integrated Home Care (IHC) is one of the key elements for successful integration of care identified by World Health Organization in a 2017 report titled “Elements of Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE)”. IHC leverages a consolidated delivery of medical or non-medical care services in the home setting. The Canadian Home Care Association states “Home Care is uniquely positioned within the health care system as an integrative bridge between different health care sectors, including acute, long-term/chronic care and primary health care” from Portraits of Home Care in Canada, 2008.

Furthermore, IHC is viewed as the most impactful form of Integrated Care because it fulfills the psychological values associated with the home. These values include:

  • The sense of safety and comfort
  • Perception of control
  • Participation in decision-making

Clients tend to experience a reduced burden of care and insecurity of the future once these psychological values are met. Senior clients are the primary beneficiaries of IHC due to increased care needs associated with aging.

Here are the top 5 benefits of Integrated Home Care (IHC):

  1. Improved communication between clients, family caregivers, health care providers, and other care providers to optimize care plan.
  2. Better coordination of care supports the timely and efficient delivery of services. In addition, care plan monitoring is improved.
  3. Smooth discharge planning. Continuity of care is maintained to alleviate potential services fragmentation.
  4. Better ability to remain at home longer. The wrap-around care created by IHC helps improve quality of care to support independent living.
  5. Cost savings. Home care is significantly more affordable than other options offered to senior clients. This cost-effectiveness coupled with the fulfillment of psychological values associated with home setting could explain why 92.1% of Canadian seniors aged 65 and over live at home (2011 Census).

The top 5 benefits interconnect to form a cascade of positive outcomes across the healthcare system. Ultimately, senior clients’ participation, satisfaction, and well-being are enhanced without increasing the burden of family caregivers.

Let’s conclude this article with a quote from WHO, “IHC is documented as a win-win-intervention for both clients and health care providers as it combines improved effectiveness and client satisfaction with societal net savings”.

 

Dr. Fatima S. Marankan, PhD Pharmacy
Executive Director
BC Senior Home Care