Modern healthcare delivery requires modern ideas. Infusing innovation in our work was the goal behind VON’s eHomecare (formerly known as eShift) approach when it was launched as a pilot program more than a decade ago. It has since evolved into a mature program in the southwestern and central regions of Ontario. Most recently, it’s been expanded to offer a palliative eHomecare program, called Hospice at Home, in the London Middlesex Elgin area.
eHomecare is a unique team-based approach to home care that engages a registered professional, like a nurse or occupational therapist, for example, who oversees and guides the work of several unregulated but specially-trained care providers, called health care technicians or therapy assistants.
Our health care technicians are essentially the eyes, ears and the hands of the nurse and they are sending observations to the nurse on a regular basis. The nurse then assesses those observations and then provides instruction or direction to the healthcare tech at the bedside.
Not only does eHomecare allow us to support even more clients from the comfort of their own homes, it also offers an opportunity to develop and enhance the skills of our own staff. PSWs looking to level up their careers through an eHomecare program can access training to become a health care technician. Becoming an eHomecare health care technician gives PSWs the opportunity to do even more specialized care with their talents. Investing in the growth of VON employees and their skills ensures that innovations like eHomecare can flourish and become more accessible to clients and families.
This model has recently been launched in London Middlesex Elgin area, thanks to the support of the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).
The goal of the Hospice at Home program is to provide equitable and high-quality care, that supports palliative clients and offers respite to their families, from a consistent care team. To meet this goal, recruiting and training the right people to serve clients (personal support workers who want enhanced training to become health care technicians) has been a focus of the program. An increasing number of new beds are being made available for this program, which provides compassionate end-of-life care and support at all hours of the day and night.
“We are aiming to provide this new model of palliative care at home to a number of clients in the London Middlesex Elgin area who could benefit from this level of end-of-life support in their own homes,” shared Davina Wong, Regional Executive Director. “Building a strong team and providing them specialized training and enhanced skills is essential to the success of Hospice at Home and eHomecare more broadly at VON.”
Palliative care is an important and oftentimes profound part of one’s care journey, because coming to the end of one’s life can be a time of both sadness and joy. It’s a time when we want to be sure that loved ones will be cared for. For decades, VON has been there – whether through hospice residences or in-home nursing – to support the end-of-life journey for many. Hospice at Home and eHomecare is one more option for families to access palliative care for family members who want to spend their final days at home.
The Hospice at Home program rolled out with a full team in place to serve a significant number of new palliative care clients and their families in London Middlesex Elgin this past summer. Engaging a talented team of health care technicians and regulated care providers increases our ability to deliver more eHomecare programs and is one more way VON is innovating in the communities we serve.