The Aging at Home strategy was launched in 2008/2009 to expand seniors’ access to home care and community support services and create locally driven approaches to enhance seniors’ independence and respond to different care needs.
Aging at Home is a part of the Toronto Central LHIN’s strategy to reduce Emergency Room (ER) wait times and alternate level of care (ALC) days. The reasons behind long ER wait times are various and complex.
One key reason why ERs get backed up is that hospital beds needed by ER patients are occupied by ALC patients whose acute care is completed and who are waiting to be transferred to a better place of care, such as their own homes, supportive housing or a long-term care home. Reducing ALC is about getting people to the right place of care with the right supports
Home First is one of the key programs funded through Aging at Home that has had significant impact in addressing the ALC challenge.
A partnership between Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), hospitals and community agencies, Home First represents a significant shift in health care thinking. When a person enters a hospital, every effort is made to ensure adequate resources are in place to support the person to ultimately go home. Home First is about providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
Seniors who receive care in their homes and communities are generally more satisfied and comfortable in a familiar setting and tend to heal more quickly. In addition, getting better at home eases pressures on hospitals and long wait times in our hospital emergency rooms and reduces the risk of infections that can be picked up while in hospital.
Home First Facts
- 3300 seniors have benefitted from Home First over the program's first two years (2009-10 and 2010-11),
- Home First has made a large impact in supporting more seniors with their care needs in the community, leading to an significant increase in the number of high-risk, frail seniors who are able to remain in the community.
- There has been a 45 per cent reduction (September 2009 to June 2011) in the number of seniors waiting in hospital for long-term care.
- Home First helps to reduce the demand and wait list for long-term care by properly assessing high needs seniors after their acute episode and ensuring that only those who truly need long-term care are applying to a long-term care home.
- When appropriately managed, care in the home not only frees up beds in hospital and long-term care homes for those who need that level of care, it maintains an individual's independence and is in fact, preferred by many seniors.
- Home First has reduced an estimated 75,000 ALC days, allowing hospitals to reinvest $43 M annually back into services for those needing hospital care.
- Thanks to programs like Home First, more seniors are receiving care in the comfort of their own homes and communities. According to a TC CCAC study, 37 per cent of people in long-term care homes don’t need to be there. With some additional support, they could live at home or an alternate community setting.
See how Home First is benefiting seniors in your community
Information for Health Service Providers
The Home First program is currently being implemented across the province and Ontario’s LHINs and CCACs have produced a Home First Implementation Guide and Toolkit to help guide the implementation of Home First. It outlines best practices and provides a number of tools to assist health service providers in their implementation of Home First. The toolkit was put together with input from the Home First Working Group, which includes members from a wide range of sectors, including LHINs, CCACs, community support services agencies, hospitals, long-term care homes and primary care.